MILWAUKEE — Plans are underway for the new, $120 million athletic performance research center at Marquette University in Milwaukee, with the January announcement of Mortenson Construction’s local office as the project’s construction manager.
The facility, created in partnership with locally based Aurora Health Care, is being designed by a team of four national and local architecture firms led by architect of record Sink Combs Dethlefs, located in Denver. Locally based HGA, Boston-based Ellenzweig and Denver-based Peter Park LLC round out the design team. Aurora Health Care is investing $40 million in the athletic performance research center, while the university will also seek sponsorship and other partnership opportunities.
The approximately 300,000-square-foot athletic performance research center will span 12 acres, combining indoor playing fields for the university’s lacrosse and soccer programs and an indoor track with top-notch research capabilities. These will allow faculty and students to conduct research in sports performance, medicine, nutrition and rehabilitation, while encouraging collaborative research in emerging fields such as exercise physiology, athletic training and biomedical engineering.
Other key highlights of the facility include weight and training rooms as well as office space to serve the intercollegiate athletics program. The track and field will also be used by intramural and club sports programming, and classroom and conference space will also be available.
The athletic performance center will be accessible to the entire student population, and student feedback will be integrated throughout the design process, according to the project website. In fact, that’s how the university identified the great demand for access to better health and wellness opportunities for students and realized that existing student health facilities were operating at maximum capacity.
A major part of the project will be to foster community engagement and create new and enhanced partnerships throughout the region, according to the project website. It will create an opportunity for health care providers and scholars — i.e., researchers and clinicians from Marquette and Aurora Health Care — to work together and foster research breakthroughs in physiological and psychological areas of human and health performance.
The center will specifically allow Aurora Health Care to expand its cross-disciplinary, patient- and community-centered research, according to the project website. The health organization’s research will result in improved fitness and performance for professional athletes, average exercisers and entire communities. Aurora will even provide Marquette with additional dedicated medical sports staffing, including physician coverage for all sports teams, full-time licensed athletic trainers and designated chiropractic and physical therapy consults.
“The creation of such a facility gives us new opportunities that we haven’t seen before and also the opportunity to attract experts from all over the world,” said Dr. Kris Ropella, Opus Dean of Engineering, in a statement.
Construction is expected to break ground later this year, and the project will likely take three years to complete. The university’s goal is to open the facility at the same time the Milwaukee Bucks, the city’s professional basketball team, open their multipurpose arena and sports and entertainment district, according to the project website.