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City injunction stops demolition of old Columbia St. Mary's hospital on UWM campus

Posted at 5:28 PM, May 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 13:39:15-04

MILWAUKEE — The future of an old hospital on UW-Milwaukee's campus remains in limbo.

The demolition of the old Columbia St. Mary’s hospital on the northwest quadrant of UWM’s campus is on hold because of an injunction from the City of Milwaukee.

The building has stood since 1919. Now, the old building, once the original home of Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital, is now just a husk on UWM’s campus.

“I think it’s really gorgeous and I love walking by here,” UWM student Colton Zick said.

Outside the building, fencing was up and construction crews were getting ready to begin demolition on Monday. It all changed when the City of Milwaukee stepped in, filing a temporary injunction on the demolition.

The city, in court records, argue the university legally is not able to do so because of a permanent historic designation, given by the common council this spring.

“I want to know what makes this space special other than if it is just old. If it has a certain type of architecture or something, a little more than it is just old,” said student Kiersten Hoff.

The university plans to convert the space into five stories of space for its school of education.

“I have never been the one to shy away from new stuff, especially if the stuff is more beneficial than what we have.” Luke Hodory said.

Both the city attorney's office and UW-Milwaukee declined to comment on the matter, citing pending legal matters.

Students on campus had varying opinions, but believe there could be a compromise to make better use of space while keeping historical elements in-place.

“It’ll be nice to keep it and maybe have a plaque and maybe a memorial, but I think progress should keep going forward,” Zick said.

A link to UWM’s plan can be found here.

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