The University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (UWM) has solidified development plans for the expansion of existing and creation of new facilities at its School of Freshwater Sciences (SFS).
Milwaukee is already considered a global hub for freshwater research largely due to the foundation laid by the Center for Great Lakes Studies and the Great Lakes WATER Institute. UWM built the SFS upon that foundation and, with the help of the Milwaukee Water Council, now hosts the only graduate program in the United States dedicated solely to the study of freshwater.
This session, I authored and passed legislation that included about $50 million in funding from the State of Wisconsin for expansion of the SFS. This investment to further develop such a globally unique and increasingly in-demand academic program in Milwaukee will create job growth, innovative research, advancements in science and technology, and attract academic minds to the community. Not only will the SFS be an enormous draw for new business, existing Milwaukee businesses such as Johnson Controls and Badger Meter will be able to take advantage of the latest freshwater research developed at SFS to advance their own technology and boost business.
UWM worked with the City of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Water Council, and private investors to choose two locations for the SFS. UWM’s existing Great Lakes WATER Institute’s building will be expanded and house most of the classrooms and labs. A second new building will house the school’s headquarters and additional applied water research labs with a focus on engineering. This new building will be constructed at the Reed Street Yards, a location chosen partly to facilitate plans for a nearby industrial park targeting water-technology companies.
The SFS project is not just expansion for the sake of expansion. It is an integral investment in Milwaukee. The school and program are a great recruiting tool for educators, researchers, and students. Our higher education system will have much more to offer, while our community may better understand the Great Lakes, our greatest natural resource. Private investors and businesses are eager to work in partnership with the SFS to advance research that will propel their businesses and our city into the future.
State Senator Jeff Plale
7th Senate District
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