By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 08, 2018 at 11:46 AM

Marquette University has announced that it will break ground on its new Athletic and Human Performance Research Center on Tuesday, March 6 at 11:30 a.m. It just won’t be doing so where it had originally intended.

In January 2016, the school released renderings for the center on a 12-acre site located between 6th and 10th Streets, and between Michigan Street and the freeway.

When no progress was seen at the site last summer, we checked in with Marquette, which said the plan would move forward but was delayed by a number of other ongoing construction projects.

Soon after, it emerged that the project was to be renamed (it had been called the Athletic Performance Research Center) and built instead on the southwest corner of West Wells and 12th Streets, on a parking lot across from the Al McGuire Center.

That’s where the ceremonial groundbreaking will occur.

The new site is currently a parking lot that is shared with the Church of The Gesu, 1145 W. Wisconsin Ave., which sits on the Marquette campus. The closing of the lot later this month so that construction can begin has sparked conflict with the church.

The project has also been considerably scaled back from its original $120 million, 250,000-300,00-square foot plan.

The now-$24 million, 46,000-square foot center – which will be built in phases as part of the university’s ongoing campus master plan – will include faculty research space; locker rooms and support space for the school’s lacrosse program and golf team; human performance research labs; and strength and conditioning facilities for MU’s athletic department, which is headquartered at the McGuire Center.

Marquette spokesman Christopher Stolarski said that the university is planning for a spring 2019 opening, but did not offer specifics on future phases of the project.

"The cutting-edge research that will take place inside this new facility will target optimizing athletic performance as well as exploring the relationships between exercise, fitness and the overall health and well-being of people across the lifespan," President Michael R. Lovell said in a statement. "Research collaborators from Marquette, Aurora Health Care and other partners will address a wide scope of human performance issues."

According to the release, "Marquette and its partners are still defining the facility’s exact mix of disciplines, researchers will likely explore areas such as rehabilitation and challenges encountered by athletes with special needs. The researchers will also work to develop new fitness technologies and advance the use of fitness data analytics as a tool for improved performance."

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.