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State looking to Wangard team for SE Wisconsin crime-lab project

State officials have entered into a tentative agreement to have a development team led by Wangard Partners, of Milwaukee, build a new state crime lab in Milwaukee.

The Wangard group was one of five that the state last fall put on a short list of teams that were up for consideration for the project. Besides Wangard Partners, the other companies in the group are: Milwaukee-based Venture Architects Inc. ; HOK, Inc.; Madison-Affiliated Engineers; and Madison-based J.H. Findorff & Son.

If the state’s letter of intent with the Wangard team is eventually turned into a formal contract, the group will be responsible for providing a 150,000-square-foot building to house the Department of Justice’s crime lab, a Division of Criminal Investigation field office, a training center and various other law enforcement-related operations. The building would be either in western Milwaukee County or eastern Waukesha County.

The lab would be used to analyze controlled substances and produce toxicology reports, process DNA samples and perform various sorts of forensic tests, among other things.

Proposed budget plans that Gov. Scott Walker released on Tuesday would set $75 million aside for the project. The total cost could be lowered through the sale of the state’s current 39,686-square-foot crime lab near the corner of West Lapham Boulevard and South 11th Street.

In getting the state’s letter of intent for the project, the Wangard team beat out four competitor groups. They consisted of:

  • The Barry Co.; WiRED Properties; J.P. Cullen & Sons, Inc.; and Strang, Inc.
  • CBC Real Estate Group, LLC; SmithGroupJJR; JE Dunn Construction; Hoefer Wysocki Architecture; and Cotter Consulting, Inc.
  • Medical College of Wisconsin, Inc.; The Concord Consulting Group of Illinois, Inc.; Zimmerman Architectural Studios, Inc.; McClaren, Wilson & Lawrie, Inc.; and Affiliated Engineers, Inc.
  • And WEAS Development/CD Smith Construction, Inc. ; HGA /Mayer Helminiak Architects; Affiliated Engineers, Inc.; and Kapur & Associates, Inc.

Each of the teams responded to a request for proposals posted to the State Department of Administration’s Division of Facilities Management’s website on Sept. 19. Responses were due by Oct. 31 and the teams were told of their inclusion on the state’s short list on Nov. 14.

The new crime lab is to be a “turn-key” project, meaning it will be built privately and then either leased or sold to the state. State officials recently used a similar system for rebuilding the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s 368,100-square-foot headquarters at the Hill Farms site on Madison’s west side.

That replacement will be a 600,000-square-foot building that will house not only WisDOT but eight other state agencies, including the Department of Safety and Professional Services and the Public Service Commission. The building, which is also being done as a turn-key project, is being undertaken by a joint venture whose principal companies are C.D. Smith Construction of Fond du Lac and Gilbane of Providence, R.I.

About Dan Shaw, dan.shaw@dailyreporter.com

Dan Shaw is the associate editor at The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at dan.shaw@dailyreporter.com or at 414-225-1807.

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