MU evaluates vacant campus buildings

Marquette is still looking for ways to use vacant buildings on campus, such as Sensenbrenner Hall. Photo by Emily Waller / [email protected]

Marquette’s campus has been given a face lift with the addition of new buildings like Zilber and Eckstein Halls, and the soon-to-be completed Discovery Learning Complex. Now, Art Scheuber, vice president for administration, said the university has decisions to make on buildings rendered vacant or useless by the new additions.

“We are in the process of assessing all vacant space on campus,” Scheuber said. “That includes empty floors and sections of buildings, not just empty buildings.”

Scheuber listed five properties in the university’s possession that are vacant.

The properties are: Hegarty’s Pub and the Newbridge Apartments near 11th St. and Wells, the building that housed Angelo’s Pizza Restaurant and Bar, Sensenbrenner Hall, 1617 Wells St. and 500 N. Clybourn Ave.

Both the Hegarty’s/Newbridge building and Angelo’s are properties bought by the university and were never used for university purposes, Scheuber said. However, the university did occupy the three other properties.

Sensenbrenner was the site of the former law school, now housed in Eckstein Hall. High Tech Wireless was housed at 1617 Wells St. and University Advancement used 500 N. Clybourn as a temporary office space.

Scheuber said the university has decided to demolish only one of those properties, the Hegarty’s/Newbridge building, but that other buildings have been targeted for demolition based on building conditions.

Those structures are: the current Child Care Center, the Academic Support Facility and the Helfaer Building on Wells St.

As for the remaining vacant properties, Scheuber said the university is actively looking for uses, tenants and plans to reoccupy Angelo’s, 1617 Wells and Sensenbrenner Hall by the 2011 fall semester. The Child Care Center’s new location will be 500 N. Clybourn.

Sensenbrenner Hall is the most capable of the vacant properties for academic reuse by the university, Scheuber said.

Greg Kliebhan, senior vice president, said at the Fr. Wild Forum held last October that while the university was still considering options, he thought it would be a “near certainty it will be used for academic purposes.”

The university will soon face another decision with the College of Engineering slated to move into the Discovery Learning Complex upon full completion of the structure. For now though, both Olin and Haggerty Engineering are safe.

“They (Olin and Haggerty Engingeering) will not be available to be reused until the second phase of the DLC is complete,” Scheuber said. “The university will reserve any action or decision-making on the buildings until that time.”

Mike Aleshire, a junior in the College of Business Administration, said that if buildings were being torn down, it might open up areas that could be utilized for green space and recreation.

“There’s not a lot of field or green areas for students,” Aleshire said. “And what space there is, is usually at a premium because students flock to them.”

Scheuber said that while the university is always looking at improving conditions, the university will not raze any buildings to open up space.

“Usually, buildings are knocked down based on condition, or to make room for incoming structures like in the case of the 1212 Building making way for Zilber,” Scheuber said.