SBD/March 17, 2011/Facilities

Wisconsin Gov. Rejects Bradley Center Funding Request, Approves UW's

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in his capital budget rejected the Bradley Center’s request to borrow $10M "to help maintain and renovate the aging facility,” but approved the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison's request to borrow $49.2M to help build a new $76.8M Athletic Department building, according to Don Walker of the Milwaukee JOURNAL SENTINEL. Both state-owned facilities "had compelling reasons for seeking state help." But Walker spokesperson Cullen Werwie said that the Gov. "made his decision because of the way the projects were structured." The Bradley Center has a “long list of needs: an aging roof, heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment that need replacing, and seat and concourse repairs.” By comparison, UW "made its case that a new building was needed to take the pressure off the McClain Center, first opened as a football facility but now essentially a home for the school's 23 sports.” The difference between the two is that the Bucks' arena "does not have public tax support and is struggling to find ways to generate revenue to meet its needs." The UW project “had the advantage of being a project that will be paid for through student fees and other campus revenue, as well as the gift funds totaling” $27.6M. Bradley Center President & CEO Steve Costello said that he was “disappointed to hear” that Walker recommended the arena request be rejected. Costello: "We are at the point that we're going to have to find ways, as a community, to extend the life of the building and plan for the long-term future." He indicated that the building has “at least seven to eight more years.” The JOURNAL SENTINEL's Walker notes there is “one revenue option that is not negotiable: selling naming rights.” The Bradley Center Board in ’08 “had to backpedal on plans to sell the naming rights after Lynde Bradley Uihlein and David V. Uihlein Jr., the daughter and son of Jane Bradley Pettit, said selling naming rights would degrade their mother's $90 million gift to the community” (Milwaukee JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/17).
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