On Wednesday, Marquette University and Aurora Health Care issued a joint statement announcing that the Wisconsin based health care provider will not be a partner in the university’s forthcoming Athletic Performance Research Center (APRC).
The statement reads as such:
Our two great Milwaukee institutions have reached a mutual decision to end discussions on forming a partnership for the Athletic and Human Performance Research Center (AHPRC). As is the case oftentimes, the project has continued to evolve and we both agreed it wasn’t the right fit moving forward. The vision behind the AHPRC remains strong and the future facility will continue to move forward.
As two strong community partners, Marquette and Aurora remain committed to working together on other opportunities to advance education and health and wellness services for the greater good of our region and those we are privileged to serve.
In January of 2016, Marquette and Aurora announced that the health care company would be a $40 million financial partner in the APRC. This was back when the APRC was in its original design phase, where the building would occupy over a quarter-million square feet south of Straz Tower. In December of 2017, Marquette officially announced that the APRC was changing, both in location and size. It’s now currently under construction across 12th Street from the Al McGuire Center, and the building has been reduced to locker room space for men’s and women’s lacrosse as well as men’s golf as well as exercise science research space.
When the new location and size was announced, this sentence was included in the press release:
Marquette and Aurora Health Care continue to be in discussions about concepts within the new facility, which will be located a block south of the Aurora Research Institute and Aurora Sinai Medical Center.
At the time, it wasn’t indicative of anything in particular, but in retrospect, it’s clear that the university had already started a discussion with Aurora by that point regarding their exit from the project. This shouldn’t be a surprise, if you think about it. Whatever ultimately caused the shift away from the fieldhouse design for the project, it altered the scope of the project. When you change the size of the building from 10 acres to less than a city block, the fact of the matter is that there’s just less space for things. Marquette’s focus has to be on Marquette, and while having Aurora doing research alongside Marquette’s research would have been great, if there’s no space, then there’s no space.
There is, of course, the financial discussion point. Yeah, it’s probably not great to not have Aurora’s $40 million any more. On the flip side, the building also isn’t costing $120 million any more. Marquette hasn’t released any official price tags on the new APRC design, but when you’re not building an indoor lacrosse field with seating for roughly 1,000 people, it’s safe to say that you’ve trimmed a massive amount of money from the project. Marquette had not announced any other partners in the old APRC design, so it’s entirely possible that was a facet of the change. It’s possible that the university is taking on the cost by itself, as the human performance research space is worth the expenditure on its own. The December press release mentioned “benefactors” for the lacrosse and golf locker rooms, so it’s quite clear that a decent section of the cost has already been defrayed by donations.
The signage on the construction fencing states that the project is set to be open and in use in the spring of 2019.