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MILWAUKEE — In what has become a longstanding partnership between the two groups, Marquette University has selected Opus North Corp. as the design-build contractor for its new College of Engineering building. The first phase of the $100 million project will include a five-story, 100,000-square-foot building.

The highlights of the project include the Discovery Learning Laboratory, a high-tech laboratory for the creation of new equipment and technologies, and the two-story Engineering Materials & Structures Testing Laboratory, which will serve as a learning and research lab for undergraduate and graduate students. It will also feature a high-bay area for the testing of larger-scale components. Other features of the building include a four-story open stairwell with glass walls and a glass building exterior, both of which will allow views into the labs. The building will eventually connect with a 150,000-square-foot building containing classrooms, offices and additional laboratory space.

Opus North is partnering with Opus Architects & Engineers, which will serve as architect of record. Additional design services are being provided by Hammel Green & Abramson. Site preparation has already begun, including the demolition of four university-owned buildings. The groundbreaking is slated for spring 2010, with initial occupancy planned for August 2011.

“We have been working with [Marquette University], off and on, for the last 30 years, and I think it is a relationship where we at Opus really consider ourselves to be pursuing the same goals that Marquette is,” says Tom Kennedy, vice president and general manager of Opus North.

The College of Engineering project is not the only one that Opus is currently completing for the university. Opus will complete the Joseph & Vera Zilber Hall, a 128,000-square-foot student services and administrative building, this November, and construction will wrap up next summer for the new Marquette University School of Law, also known as Ray & Kay Eckstein Hall. Still, the College of Engineering building is a great source of pride for the company.

“We have a lot of Marquette alumni within our company, and certainly a project like this is just amazing for us to be connected with,” Kennedy says.

— Coleman Wood

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