Marquette Destroying Its Beer Can Dorm » Urban Milwaukee

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McCormick Hall demolition. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

McCormick Hall demolition. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A fixture on the Marquette University campus for over 50 years will soon be gone.

The university is demolishing the 52-year-old McCormick Hall. The residence hall, located at the northeast corner of W. Wisconsin Ave. and N. 16th St., is known for its curved facade and as a result has been referred to as “the beer can” by generations of students. Playing into the name, the university even sold can koozies mimicking the design of the building as part of a farewell ceremony.

The demolition comes as part of a 2016 campus master plan under which the university has focused on improving student housing. A new $108 million, 890-bed residence hall, The Commons, opened last fall while McCormick Hall’s beds were empty for the first time since it opened in 1967.

University representatives previously said McCormick was no longer “economically prudent” to operate and also noted that the demolition activity in the area, led by the Bradley Center, resulted in a discounted rate on leveling the structure. The cost for demolition was included in the budget to develop The Commons.

The 725-bed residence hall was named for law school alumnus Victor McCormick who donated $2.5 million to the university shortly after the building opened. Until the donation was made, the partially completed facility was known as Dorm #1. The 12-story facility was originally envisioned to have a twin building built immediately north of it, but that plan never came to fruition. (A dormitory on the St. Norbert College campus in De Pere, Victor McCormick Hall, is still home to 225 students annually.)

If you want to catch one last look at the building located at 1530 W. Wisconsin Ave., get over there soon. Demolition contractor Veit is making quick work of the structure with the site planned to become a grass lot by November 2019. From many angles, you can now see straight through the structure.

What comes next for the corner lot remains to be seen. The 2016 master plan envisioned a recreation and wellness center being constructed on the site.

The Commons and McCormick aren’t the only changes on campus. A Physician Assistant Studies building is nearly complete and the university recently opened the Athletic and Human Performance Research Center.


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