Working in conjunction with a private developer since 2005, the City of Waukesha, Carroll University, and the Waukesha Redevelopment Authority have planned, investigated, remediated, and begun development of high-tech college dormitories and commercial facilities known as the Carroll University Student Living Center. Ayres worked on two of the three sites the developer built, namely those now housing Frontier Hall and Prairie Hall.
The project won a State Finalist Award in the American Council of Engineering Companies of Wisconsin’s 2015 Engineering Excellence Awards.
Since 2008 Berg Management Company has retained Ayres for multiple environmental projects in the once-blighted, formerly industrial area. Through the years, services included grant applications, Phase 1 and 2 environmental site assessments (ESAs), remediation oversight, and remedial action plans for various parcels the company owned in preparation for the redevelopment. The affected properties included a former strip mall, a teen center/printing company, a transmission service business, and an auto repair and U-Haul operation, all of which were on North Grand Avenue or West College Avenue in downtown Waukesha.
Our environmental site investigation and remediation oversight efforts began with an initial Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Site Assessment Grant (SAG) request in 2008. In 2009 and 2010, Ayres completed Phase 1 and 2 ESAs and soil and groundwater remediation oversight for the construction activities at the teen center/printing company and strip mall. The project included oversight of contaminated soil excavation, contaminated groundwater removal, oversight of asphalt capping procedures, and preparation of site closure plans.
The excavation and disposal activities were funded by a $400,000 Blight Elimination and Brownfield Redevelopment Program (BEBR) grant and a $36,000 SAG grant, prepared with assistance from Ayres. Final development activities were completed in spring 2011 and included a three-story student residence hall (Frontier Hall), first-floor commercial business space that includes a public YMCA, and an underground parking structure, for an estimated cost of $12 million.
Also in 2010, Ayres prepared additional SAG applications for the other two properties, Accurate Transmission Service and Lamb’s Auto Repair & U-Haul. Berg Management Company worked with the Waukesha Redevelopment Authority for tax incremental financing support and grant application support to aid in the environmental investigation of these properties before their eventual redevelopment into what is now Prairie Hall. For this project Ayres helped acquire a $40,700 WEDC SAG and a $291,150 BEBR grant for remediation. Today the suite-style residence hall features 33 apartment units as well as retail outlets and is valued at about $8 million.
Work on the projects, all completed on time and on budget despite tight deadlines, has also included a Phase 1 ESA, Phase 2 site investigation, soil excavation remediation oversight, and site closure applications. Construction of the final development was completed in 2013. The three transformed sites, previously valued at $2 million, now offer a valuation of $32 million.
The revitalized area has become a travel corridor for students, and the rehabilitation has increased safety and reduced vandalism. It also created and enhanced public walkways and provides direct access from housing to the campus facilities and public parks. The redevelopment also provided students and the surrounding residential and business neighborhood access to restaurants, bakeries, and other services.