By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Dec 14, 2022 at 1:02 PM

If you’re on the Marquette University campus next week, expect to see fencing go up around Straz Hall, 1225 W. Wisconsin Ave., as work is set to begin to renovate and expand the building as a new home for the College of Nursing.

The building – opened in 1951 and renovated and expanded in 1984 – had been occupied by Marquette Business faculty and staff, who recently moved into their new $60 million, 100,000 square-foot home at Dr. E. J. and Margaret O’Brien Hall on the corner of 16th and Wisconsin.

The new O'Brien Hall in an architects' rendering.

The campus also has a Straz Tower, a former YMCA building, that is not part of this project.

The building – Marquette’s first fully donor-funded construction project – replaced the McCormick Hall dormitory building, which was demolished in 2019. It was designed by Kansas City-based BNIM and Milwaukee’s Workshop Architects.

Announced earlier in the year, the Straz project, designed by HGA, received approval from the university’s Board of Trustees at its December meeting.

The project is being funded in part by a $1 million donation from Micky and Jennifer Minhas, both of whom graduated from MU in 1989 (the former in engineering, the latter in nursing).
Micky Minhas is a member of the Board of Trustees.

The renovated Straz – with more than 100,000 square feet – will have an atrium, auditorium, flexible classrooms and a Center for Nursing Student Success to offer wraparound student support services on the first floor and, on the second floor, skills labs and a student breakroom.

The atrium in a rendering by HGA.

The third floor will have simulation labs and debriefing rooms for reflection, clinical judgment, critical thinking skills and reasoning, and to simulate real-world health care situations.

The top two floors will house the dean’s suite, faculty offices, additional classrooms and a research collaboration lab.

Work on interior abatement work will take place in January and demolition work is expected to start in February. The building is expected to be ready by summer 2024.

Another major construction project – an $80 million renovation and expansion of the Helfaer Tennis Stadium and Recreation Center into a new 180,000-square-foot Wellness + Recreation facility – is expected to get started in the coming weeks.

The new Wellness + Recreation Center in a rendering by Workshop.

The rec center will close on Dec. 16 to allow that work to commence. Workshop Architects designed that project.

Plans for the College of Nursing’s current home, Clark Hall, have not yet been determined.

Last spring, Marquette announ ced a goal of adding 200 more undergraduates to the College of Nursing across the next four years and an additional 400 grad students over the next five to help meet a nursing shortage both locally and nationally.

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 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 has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.