Milwaukee Bucks, Marquette University team up to build sports medicine & research facility

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Marquette University President Michael Lovell in his first presidential address announced that the university, in collaboration with the Milwaukee Bucks, will construct a new a multi-purpose, co-curricular facility that supports elite-level intercollegiate and professional athletics, academic research, and campus health and wellness initiatives.

"We both had a pretty big vision of what this could be. We thought we could really benefit from each other," President Lovell said.

The project, which is expected to be located on seven-and-a-half acres of land the university recently acquired in the 800 block of Michigan Street, will be funded through a combination of philanthropic gifts, corporate partnerships and research grants, President Lovell said, adding that planning with the Bucks’ leadership will begin soon.

“This is not just about us sharing an arena together. We’ve developed a strategic partnership with the Bucks," President Lovell said.

The facility, which will combine indoor playing fields for Marquette’s lacrosse and soccer programs, an indoor track, and a world-class athletic performance research facility, will also allow the university to improve access to recreation and fitness facilities for all students. Cutting-edge faculty and student research in sports performance, medicine, nutrition and rehabilitation will enhance the performance of Marquette student-athletes and professional athletes worldwide.

In a news release, Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wes Edens stated:

"When our group purchased the team, we made a promise to make an impact on and off the court. We are committed to upholding this promise. The development of this world-class facility will not only benefit Bucks players and Marquette students, but as a cutting-edge leader in the sports medicine space, it will benefit the entire region and make Wisconsin an even greater attraction worldwide. We are excited to take this first step and partner with Marquette on this endeavor."

"The fact that we`re combining rec sports, community efforts, varsity athletics, academic research, professional franchise, that`s a pretty complex situation that we`re talking about," Marquette Athletic Director Bill Scholl said.

Plans for the facility emerged during discussions about a new basketball arena. Marquette expects its team will play in the new Bucks arena.

"For us it`s very exciting. I think that having, playing in a pro sports arena gives us a competitive advantage in terms of recruiting student athletes and what we can do in terms of outreach to our community and having that facility for our fan base and our alumni," President Lovell said.

It is unknown how much Marquette would contribute to a new Bucks arena.

Saying, “It really is a new day at Marquette University,” President Lovell in his speech made additional major announcements stemming from initiatives outlined in his inaugural address last September. Chief among them are significant developments around Marquette’s focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, progress on commissioning the Department of Public Safety as a police force, and a $5 million gift to establish a mental health research center.

President Lovell announced several key updates on the innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives he unveiled in his inaugural address. According to President Lovell, the university aims to double its research funding over the next five years, to significantly expand and enhance its graduate education, and to provide an infrastructure that better supports entrepreneurship across campus.

To support growth in these areas, two structural changes will be made. The first is the decoupling of the current vice provost for research and dean of the Graduate School position into two separate positions – a vice president for research and innovation and a dean of the Graduate School. Dr. Jeanne Hossenlopp, the former vice provost for research and dean of the Graduate School, has been named vice president for research and innovation. Dr. Kevin Gibson, associate dean of the Graduate School and associate professor of philosophy, has been named interim dean of the Graduate School.

Second, Marquette will significantly expand the role of its Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship to support entrepreneurial activities in every area of the university. It is planned that the Kohler Center will move to a more centralized location on campus that is easy to access for faculty and students, and will have increased space and support staff to foster start-up activity.

President Lovell also announced that Marquette will move into the Global Water Center in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood by the end of 2015. Along with Lora Strigens, newly named associate vice president for finance and university architect, Hossenlopp is working with a group of faculty on designing Marquette’s future space on the center’s sixth floor.

“We believe Milwaukee will be the place where the world comes to get their water problems solved,” President Lovell said.

Further, President Lovell noted that the Strategic Innovation Fund he established in the fall has grown to nearly $6 million. Under Hossenlopp’s leadership, a new University Innovation Council will soon review an anticipated 200 proposals from faculty, staff and student teams seeking seed funding for a variety of innovative projects.

Following a recommendation from university leaders, Marquette will continue to move forward on creating a university police department, President Lovell announced. He made the decision after reviewing feedback from the Marquette community and external stakeholders, meeting with university leaders and reviewing a recommendation made by an internal task force.

“I’ve accepted that recommendation, and we’re going to move forward,” President Lovell said.

With his decision, Marquette will begin taking the necessary steps to plan, form and implement a commissioned police force. President Lovell emphasized that there is no set timetable and that many steps remain before a police department would be formed. This includes completing agreements that will further define key aspects of policing services.

The decision to move forward comes after years of the university investing in and professionalizing the Department of Public Safety, which maintains a 24-hour patrol of campus in areas of the designated patrol zone, a state-of-the-art command information center and a nationally recognized student safety program. Last year, legislation was signed into law that allows Marquette to enter into agreement with either the state or a local law enforcement agency to operate a university police department.

A $5 million gift from Dr. Michael and Mrs. Billie Kubly will be used to establish the Charles E. Kubly Mental Health Research Center in the College of Health Sciences, Lovell announced.

“It’s been said that the brain is the final frontier of medicine, and that mental health problems should be studied with the same voracity as heart disease or cancer,” President Lovell said.

The gift will also provide for an endowed senior professorship, funding for additional faculty and funding for cutting-edge cellular and molecular research methodologies. Ultimately, the goal is to raise a total of $10 million to support the new center, Lovell said.

The Kublys are the founders of the Charles E. Kubly Foundation, “a public charity devoted to improving the lives of those affected by depression.” The charitable foundation is named in honor of their son, Charles, who took his own life after a long battle against the disease of depression. Rather than a foundation donation, however, the Kublys’ gift is a personal one.

Other announcements:

  • Stemming from an October meeting hosted by President Lovell and Harley-Davidson CEO Keith Wandell, the new nonprofit group Near West Side Partners, Inc., was recently established and will focus on safety and economic development initiatives that aim to improve the neighborhoods on Milwaukee’s near west side.
  • President Lovell next month will launch a President’s Task Force on Equity and Inclusion, which will be charged with determining ways in which Marquette can be a more inclusive and nurturing environment, particularly for underrepresented groups.
  • The university earlier this month was recognized with the 2015 Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification.

1 Comment

  • Victoria Runda

    I’m glad that they are doing this at Marquette University. My daughter is considering going into sports medicine and this just gives her more options as she comes of age. They’ve got about six years to develop a good program if they want her to attend their university.

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