By James Rowen Special to Published Jan 16, 2010 at 3:07 PM

Who'd want to be isolated out there, even if there is a new UWM engineering campus on abutting acreage?

Talk about an education and planning disconnect: UWM's main campus is on the East side, Marquette's new Engineering school is far away, and the Milwaukee School of Engineering is downtown, so why is UWM forging ahead with monument building -- in the name of education -- but so far from these other colleges?

Yes, there are high-tech businesses in the vicinity, but major firms with innovation at their core, like Johnson Controls or Rockwell International, and others are not.

And I doubt whether UWM or the County or the State of Wisconsin will do what should have been done and supported and grown years ago -- serving the west side of the County, the County Grounds, the Zoo and the hospital complex including the Medical College with light rail.

Imagine being one of a few grad students on the County Grounds right now.

Would you snowshoe your way out to meet friends?

Will dinner and coffee come from vending machines?

UWM may think that turning buildings on the site into housing will raise some revenue, but given the right or wrong weather and economic conditions, the school may be building itself a Desolation Row instead.

Time to seriously rethink this entire notion.

James Rowen Special to
James Rowen is a Milwaukee writer and consultant who blogs at He worked as a reporter and assistant metro editor at The Milwaukee Journal and Journal Sentinel, and held several positions with Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist, including Chief of Staff. Rowen is on the board of the Institute for One Wisconsin Now, and receives funding from The Brico Fund; neither organization has control over his writing and blogging.