Marcus Center Breaks Ground on Exterior Campus Renovations

Work began on the new outdoor public space at the Marcus Performing Arts Center in downtown Milwaukee.

Twenty-four honey locust trees are being planted around the perimeter of the green space on the building’s south side, marking the next phase of the Marcus Center’s campus improvement master plan. The new trees replace numerous trees that were removed from the area just east of the Peck Pavilion in preparation for the exterior renovation project, which aims to expand that lawn area to create an “open, park-like gathering space and enhanced ADA accommodations,” according to a news release.

“Our vision for the grounds is to foster an accessible public gathering space for the community to engage with the performing arts both within the center and beyond it,” said Kendra Whitlock Ingram, president and CEO of Marcus Performing Arts Center. “We’re proud to be a champion of the city’s rich performing arts culture, and we’re looking forward to welcoming everyone to an improved communal space to enjoy and experience performances, events, and more.”

In fall 2020, the Marcus Center began the $4 million project to renovate Uihlein Hall, which included the addition of new seats, a new seating configuration with multiple aisles, increased public health and safety amenities, and enhanced ADA accommodations. The interior portion of the project wrapped up last spring, just in time to welcome audiences back to in-person shows. The center is home to the Milwaukee Ballet, Florentine Opera, First Stage and a variety of community events.

Once complete, the improved outdoor space will feature additional greenery, native perennial gardens with bio-filtration, and new light fixtures. The center’s war memorial dedication will be relocated to the southeast corner of campus and will include an expression of gratitude, benches and two flagpoles that are currently located behind Peck Pavilion.

To accommodate individuals with disabilities, the space will feature a crushed stone border sealed with a waxed polymer for wheelchair and stroller accessibility. There will be bench cutouts for wheelchairs at the War Memorial and wheelchair seating at café tables.

The lawn will also have an unobstructed view of the newly installed screen at the Peck Pavilion, where visitors will be able to relax and enjoy performances outdoors.

Milwaukee-based engineering firm GRAEF USA is providing all the landscape architecture and civil engineering for the project. 

Maredithe Meyer, BizTimes Milwaukee