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UW South Madison Partnership announces 2020 expansion

December 10, 2019 By Kristina LeVan

The UW South Madison Partnership is moving into expanded space to support current and future growth as an important community resource. The Board of Regents approved the move and expansion into the former Madison College South facility at The Village on Park on Dec. 5. Renovation of the office, event and instructional spaces, to be located at 2238 S. Park St. in Madison, begins in January 2020 with an anticipated completion timeline in late spring.

Photo of Brenda González

Brenda González

“From the beginning, the goal of the UW South Madison Partnership has been to create partnerships between the campus community and the South Madison community in a space that is accessible and responsive to their needs,” says Brenda González, director of community relations at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “This important expansion helps us strengthen our current relationships and build new ones so we can best support a shared vision of the future.”

Opened in 2015, UWSMP serves as a place for the university to connect and collaborate with community partners and members of the South Madison community. In the five years since its launch, the South Madison Partnership has outgrown its current site. Made up of two private offices, one small conference room and a large classroom and event space, UWSMP welcomes 1,100 people each month and hosts 10 or more weekly programs ranging from educational courses to health and legal services.

“Every day there is a diverse range of essential and innovative programming happening at UWSMP. The university has long been committed to extending its work beyond campus, and UWSMP’s success and growth in the community is a great example of that commitment,” says Professor Mitch, director of the UW Law School’s Economic Justice Institute.

Photo: Exterior of partnership building

UWSMP, located at The Village on Park, is an important resource for encouraging mutually beneficial relationships between the university and the South Madison community. Photo: Jeff Miller

The new space will have five private offices, eight classrooms, co-working spaces, three conference rooms, a kitchenette and an open gathering space, more than quadrupling UWSMP’s footprint from 3,015 square feet to 12,902. The growth will not only meet the current demand for space, but also offer room for sustained growth over time.

“This new space will help us empower more families near the poverty level to find their gifts and transform their lives,” says Professor Emily Auerbach, director of the UW Odyssey Project. “It will be accessible, multicultural and welcoming, helping us build an Odyssey Family Learning Center to serve the needs of whole families. We are so excited about the UW’s commitment not just to sustaining but to expanding the close community-university programming that epitomizes the Wisconsin Idea.”

The expansion project will allow more community members, researchers and students to facilitate joint projects. Along with increased programming, there will also be new opportunities for partnerships with both campus and community organizations. UWSMP partners with 22 community organizations and works with campus partners across eight schools and colleges, five divisions and two institutes, in addition to the Division of Extension.

Photo: Amelia Pearson listens to Olympia Mathiaparanam

Amelia Pearson (right) listens to Olympia Mathiaparanam, research specialist at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, during a UW–Madison South Madison Community Partnership event held at UWSMP. Photo: Bryce Richter

“The Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center has been fortunate to offer testings, trainings, exercise classes and many other related research events at UWSMP with wonderful results,” says Fabu Carter, senior outreach specialist at the center.” Our community partners appreciate being able to access UW–Madison services in the South Madison neighborhood and we are excited about the new facility that will allow even more successful partnerships.”

About the UW South Madison Partnership

Opened in 2015, the UW South Madison Partnership (UWSMP) is a UW–Madison initiative designed to meet the South Madison community’s needs and foster mutually beneficial relationships. Located at The Village on Park, the physical space — equipped with classroom space, conference rooms, private meeting areas and university resources — allows community members to engage with UW–Madison in a more accessible, meaningful way. UWSMP partnerships and programs can be found online.

Programming at the UWSMP includes the UW Odyssey Project, which offers a free humanities course for adult students facing economic barriers to college, the Neighborhood Law Clinic, which provides a range of legal and advocacy services to low-income community members, and dozens of other programs and partners focusing on health, education and other interest areas.