ACE Mentor students develop plan to add multi-use space to Marquette campus

aceMILWAUKEE – March 28, 2018 – For the first time ever, the Milwaukee affiliate of the ACE Mentor Program (Architecture, Construction, Engineering) successfully completed its first year-long session. This program, which officially launched in October 2017, paired local high school students and industry mentors to design a hypothetical project on the Marquette University campus. The teams gave their final presentations on March 20th in front of friends, families, school leadership, industry leaders and Milwaukee’s Mayor Tom Barrett.

From October through March, the high school students spent one afternoon per week at either Gilbane Building Company or HGA Architects and Engineers’ offices or visiting local construction sites, learning about careers in the architecture, engineering and construction industries. To complete their year-long program, the students were charged with developing a plan for a new Business School on the Marquette University campus. The parameters for the building were that it should be a model of innovation and interdisciplinary studies for the larger campus, as well as a space where students could work and live collaboratively. The new hypothetical business school would be built on the site of the existing tennis stadium and recreation center, with a connection to the existing College of Engineering and the existing College of Nursing.

With the guidance of their mentors, students from Bay View High School, St. Anthony School’s High School campus, and Carmen School of Science & Technology’s southeastern campus developed plans for a modern, five-story educational, office and residential facility. The structure was accompanied by ample parking spaces, including an underground parking garage, and multiple green spaces including one on the rooftop.

The team presented their final development plans at the ACE awards banquet on March 20th on the Marquette campus. The students gave in-depth examples of floor plans, renderings, structural floor framing, column design, building materials and MEP services. With guidance from mentors from local firms Thornton Tomasetti, Gilbane Building Company, Grunau Company, and HGA Architects and Engineers, the students were able to design a fully functioning building with thoughtful design and insight.

“The project was ambitious, well planned with acute attention to details, and served its desired functions within the Marquette campus amazingly well. The presentations were complete in every step of the planning and development process for this building, and the students were articulate, at ease and presented to the room of some 50 attendees as well as most professionals. I am so proud of the efforts of our students and our mentors, and couldn’t be more pleased with how positive our first year has been,” said Adam Jelen, Senior Vice President of Gilbane Building Company, chairman of the ACE Mentor Greater Milwaukee board of directors.

ACE Mentor Program Milwaukee is a 501c3 organization run completely by volunteers. As a nonprofit, the program is free for all students and mentors. Jelen expressed that because the program is a start-up, there are unique opportunities for donations and sponsorships from both individuals and companies who can have a lasting community impact. Donations will go towards the upcoming year’s operational needs such as transportation, insurance costs, and scholarships. Scholarships will be awarded to outstanding students who study architecture, construction or engineering in college. To make a tax-deductible contribution to support Milwaukee’s ACE community or to learn how you can become involved in this worthy program, visit their website.

About the ACE Mentor Program

The ACE Mentor Program of America was founded in 1994 by the principals of distinguished design and construction firms under the leadership and guiding force of Dr. Charles H. Thornton. Its mission is to engage, excite and enlighten high school students to pursue careers in architecture, engineering, and construction through mentoring and to support their continued advancement in the industry. ACE’s 70 affiliates in 37 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico organize 3600 mentors to deliver a 15- session after-school program to over 9,000 students. ACE’s sponsors include many of America’s leading companies in the design and construction industry. For more information visit: