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UNION GROVE – Two projects totaling $4.7 million at the Wisconsin Veterans Home and the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Cemetery here are among the $2.38 billion in investments that Gov. Tony Evers has recommended in the 2021-23 Capital Budget.

The Capital Budget, released Monday, involves projects in 31 of the state’s 72 counties, including university campuses, state parks, office buildings, corrections and veterans’ facilities.

Maurer Hall Kitchen remodel

A kitchen remodel estimated at $3,508,900 at Mauer Hall at the Wisconsin Veterans Home is one of two Racine County projects on the governor’s recommendations list. The plans call for constructing a “full preparation kitchen” including a bake, cook and grill section, a bakery finishing area and an additional cooler and dry storage area. The project also includes new carts to transport meals to residents in Boland Hall’s six wings and minor modifications to the Gates Hall serving area.

In a project justification statement, the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) said that having a new kitchen facility would make Veterans Home meal preparation “more efficient.” Also, “the new kitchen will be full service allowing meals to be prepared onsite.”

Cemetery Storage Building

The other county project in Capital Budget is an unheated storage building at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Estimated at $1,264,000, the 5,000-square-foot building would be post-and-frame construction with corrugated metal siding, concrete floor and overhead doors. The project also includes an outdoor elevated equipment washing area.

The DVA stated that the cemetery has grown from 4,866 gravesites in 2005 to more than 19,000 gravesites today. The additional gravesites require a more extensive storage facility for maintenance equipment, including a dedicated area to remove mud and debris from equipment each day.

Other Capital Budget Highlights

In a news release, the governor’s office stated that the budget recommendations “aggressively and responsibly address deferred maintenance and life safety issues in state-owned buildings, as well as maximizing and modernizing state and higher education facilities while also supporting sustainable designs.”

Among the things the budget will do: 

  • Investing in Wisconsin’s higher education students through significant statewide investments in UW-System facilities;
  • Support Juvenile Justice Reform through investments in correctional and health services facilities;
  • Protecting our natural resources through investments in state parks and forests and upgrades to Fire Response Ranger Stations;
  • Honoring and caring for our veterans by funding upgrades to the Veterans Homes and improvements to Veteran Cemeteries;
  • Reinvigorating the energy conservation investment in state facilities through substantial investments to address a growing backlog of state agency needs and emphasizing the installation of renewable energy capabilities;
  • Maximize use of state property in Madison by providing planning funds to redevelop Block 108 (currently GEF 1) for a potential co-located Museum and replacement of a downtown Madison state office building;
  • Consolidate state agency functions into a new Milwaukee state office building, which will also be a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization and economic growth along with one of Milwaukee’s key commercial corridors;
  • Providing ample funding for all state agencies, including the UW-System for small to mid-sized capital maintenance and repair projects in the All-Agency Program; and
  • Supporting local community projects with a statewide public purpose such as the Kenosha STEM Innovation Center, Milwaukee Museum of Nature and Culture, and Beyond Vision VisABILITY Center.

Next Steps

The State Building Commission meets March 17 to vote on the governor’s Capital Budget recommendations. The Building Commission’s Capital Budget recommendations are required by state law to be submitted to the Joint Committee on Finance by the first Tuesday in April.

Gov. Evers chairs the Building Commission. Rep. Robert Wittke (R-Caledonia) is among the commission’s seven members. The 2021-2023 Capital Budget agency requests and governor’s recommendations can be found here: DOA Capital Budget (wi.gov).


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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.

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