Marcia P. Coggs Human Services Center

Milwaukee, WI
Restoring a Building... and a Neighborhood

At a Glance

  • SUMMARY: Major renovation to consolidate 450 county employees under one roof
  • SIZE: 170,000 sf, 3 stories
  • COMPLETION: 2004
  • CONSTRUCTION COST: $4.6 million
  • OWNER: Milwaukee County, Department of Human Services
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Restoring a building...and a neighborhood

In 1999, Continuum performed a comprehensive survey and programming analysis for Milwaukee County’s Department of Health and Human Services by interviewing staff, assessing projected growth, and creating extensive block fit-plan diagrams. It was determined that 450 employees, in three separate locations, could be consolidated here after a major interior/exterior renovation. Originally built as a department store, the building was renovated many times over 25 years including blocking all the windows to reduce energy consumption and increase security, evoking prison-like image.

The 170,000-square-foot office renovation of three floors and a basement created more flexible spaces where the private offices are centrally located and the open offices line the windows to allow 80% of staff to take advantage of the natural light. Masonry cleaning, window replacement, insulation, ADA upgrades, and mechanical, electrical and plumbing modifications transformed this building into an energy efficient facility—convenient for staff, comfortable for visitors, and friendlier to the neighborhood.

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