“It is walkable. That is tremendous,” Madison Ald. Sherri Carter said of the south-side campus for Madison Area Technical College that soon will take shape on the southeast corner of South Park Street and Badger Road.
The 75,000-square-foot comprehensive Goodman South Campus being developed by MATC, also known as Madison College, will offer students job training and certificates, as well as all the classes needed for an associate’s degree and access to services to help them stay the course.
Carter and others among a crowd of 150 gathered on the former site of the state’s Department of Employee Trust Funds for a groundbreaking event Monday see an even bigger impact from the $23 million investment by private donors in south Madison, the city’s most diverse area with one of its highest poverty rates.
“I think this is going to be the catalyst that brings us all together,” Carter said of the college facility, noting the need for additional public meeting and gathering spaces in the neighborhood that the new facility will provide.
MATC officials say the campus will be ready for classes for the fall 2019 semester.
Mario Garcia Sierra, chairman of the board of Centro Hispano, a nonprofit social services agency serving Dane County’s Latino community located across Badger Road from the college site, said the proximity of the campus to the young people his organization serves will be powerful.
“The idea of college will seem much less daunting,” he said.
Ruben Anthony, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison headquartered in the nearby Villager Mall, also predicted that the presence of a college campus in the neighborhood will be transformational.
And its location next to the beltline and across the street from a Madison Metro transfer point will make it easy to get to for students from farther away, he said.
The campus also will host a program in partnership with the Madison Metropolitan School District that will allow students to complete an associate degree as they earn their high school diploma.
The young people drawn to the neighborhood will boost the local economy in the short term by patronizing businesses created to serve, Anthony said.
“Imagine the types of businesses that will want to be in the Villager,” he said. In the long term the college will provide opportunity for generations of area residents to train for employment. “This is a game-changer.”
The new campus will bring equity and opportunity to an area of the city whose residents too often have been underrepresented, marginalized and disenfranchised, said MATC president Jack Daniels. “It will transform the perception of the south side,” he said.
- A divided MATC board of trustees in May 2015 rejected Daniels’ proposal for a comprehensive campus in south Madison.
- In May 2016, the board unanimously approved a proposal for south Madison that had been “refined and refocused,” Joe Hasler, chair of the MATC Board of Trustees, said Monday.
- A $10 million gift from the Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman Foundation launched the capital campaign that eventually included foundations big and small, nonprofit organizations, businesses and individuals, including more than 200 Madison College employees.
- Originally planned as a multi-year, phased project, $10.2 million in gifts, including a challenge grant, from Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation and Affiliates last October moved it to a single phase project.
- Miron Construction Co., Inc., based in Neenah, last month was awarded a 12-month construction contract for the project, with completion set for July, 2019.
- $23 million for property acquisition and construction has been raised or pledged, college officials say, but the Great Lakes challenge grant continues to raise funds for enhancements.
- Equipment and technology will be paid for by the college, but cost estimates were not yet available, officials said.