Business school building clears hurdle

By Gary Achterberg - News Graphic Staff

Oct. 13, 2016

 The next building planned for the Concordia University Wisconsin campus in Mequon is shown here facing west, with Interstate 43 in the background.
Submitted rendering

MEQUON — Long-talked-about plans for a new School of Business building on the Concordia University Wisconsin campus took a major first step toward realization Monday.

Mequon’s Planning Commission unanimously approved the just-submitted site plan for the proposed four-story building that will be located just inside the Highland Road entrance to the campus. The land now is used as a practice soccer field.

The proposed 85,311-square-foot building will house the schools of Business, Education, Hospitality and Event Management and Health Professions. It will include classrooms, lecture halls and faculty offices, according to a city staff memo to the Planning Commission.

The initial public steps for the building coincide with a recent announcement from CUW that it plans to rename its School of Business for Theodore W. Batterman, retired president and CEO of Spacesaver Corp. He previously served on CUW’s Board of Regents and is currently a member of its foundation’s board of directors.

“We are grateful for business leaders like Ted Batterman, who stepped up early in our campaign and pledged their support for the new building that will house our School of Business,” CUW President Patrick J. Ferry said. “His contribution will truly enable us to empower the next generation of Christ-centered, ethical business leaders.”

No date has been set for the groundbreaking, said Kali Thiel, director of university communications for CUW.

The building will have a theme of Wisconsin Entrepreneurs, according to a CUW announcement. All major Wisconsin companies will be profiled, telling the stories of the founders and their values, as a way to celebrate past Wisconsin entrepreneurs and inspire the next generation of ethical business leaders, according to a CUW announcement.

The university added the building is “the important first phase in a larger university academic expansion” that will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

The building will be connected to Luther Hall, which houses the university’s administration. The front of the new building will face east. It “includes an abundance of glass that will provide the occupants extraordinary views of Lake Michigan,” according to the city memo.

The project will include the addition of 65 parking spaces, bringing the total on campus to 2,275. The university recently constructed a large parking ramp on the west edge of the campus, which has significantly aided the ability to find a parking spot on campus. “Based on the predicted growth rate of the student population, the existing (parking) supply will be sufficient for at least five years,” the memo said.

Jac Zader, the city’s assistant director of Community Development, said many of the functions that will be part of the new building are being moved from other locations on the campus. He said he does not believe the building will have a significant impact on the parking situation on campus or on traffic using nearby roads.

One nearby resident opposed the project. He said the university “has a history of making promises that are not kept.” He said residents were assured that the bluff-improvement project would not affect their properties; he said that has not been the case. He added CUW’s promises about controlling lighting and sound coming from the Kapco Park baseball stadium also were not kept. In addition, he said an agreed-to sign restricting turns from campus toward Lake Shore Drive has been down for some time and has not been replaced.

“The city is being given one line after another after another,” said Martin Huennekens, who lives just south of the university on North Lake Shore Drive.

Much of the Planning Commission’s discussion centered on some design elements of the building and a covering for air conditioning and other mechanical features on the roof. The architect for the project said he would work with city staff to make acceptable modifications.

Zader also said he would make sure that the no-turn sign at the exit to the campus is replaced before a building permit is issued.