Expanded Waisman Center Facilities Support Vital Programs

MADISON, WI – The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Waisman Center will celebrate the completion of a $25 million expansion project with dedication ceremonies scheduled for Tuesday, September 4. The new facilities will support the center’s pioneering research, services, and education in human development, developmental disabilities, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Dedication events also will include an all-day scientific symposium, “Developmental Science: Genes, Brain and Behavior,” on Wednesday, September 5 in the Waisman Center auditorium, 1500 Highland Avenue.

The three-year building project supported the construction of a new seven-story research tower for the center and also includes the expansion and remodeling of the west annex. A total of 71,000 square feet was added to the Waisman Center, with new facilities for state-of-the-art research laboratories and expanded space for the center’s programs for children with developmental disabilities.

Research programs located in the new tower include:

  • the Waisman Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility, a highly specialized cleanroom facility that will produce gene and cell-based therapeutics to be used in early human clinical trials;
  • the W.M. Keck Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior, a comprehensive and sophisticated imaging center that incorporates a high field-strength MRI scanner and a PET scanner in the study of affective and developmental disorders, including autism;
  • the Waisman Center’s landmark gene therapy research program, which will develop technologies for the transfer of genes into human and animal tissues; and
  • a new research program on stem cell biology and transplantation, focused on basic biological research on stem cells.

Expansion and remodeling of first-floor areas of the center are providing much-needed room for the center’s early intervention programs and have doubled the space available for the center’s Early Childhood Program. The Waisman Center’s programs are recognized as national models in helping advance the understanding and development of young children of all abilities, and particularly those with physical and cognitive disabilities.

Other features of the expansion project include a new lobby area, a Family Resource Room, and a new conference center with advanced audio/visual systems and interactive technology.

The expansion project was entirely funded by gifts from UW alumni and friends, private foundations and the UW-Madison Graduate School. The tower addition, the William F. and Betty Jo Heckrodt Translational Reseach Tower, honors the lead donors, a 1942 UW alumnus and his wife from Menasha, Wisconsin. The west wing, which houses the early childhood and early intervention program, was supported by a gift from the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation of Madison and is named in honor of former Waisman Center executive associate director Judith B. Ward, who recently retired.

Other lead donors to the University of Wisconsin Foundation’s capital campaign for the Waisman Center include Thomas G. Koltes, Hilton Head, South Carolina; James Kress, DePere, Wisconsin; the Oscar Rennebohm Foundation and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

Founded in 1973, the Waisman Center is one of nine centers across the country dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about human development, developmental disabilities and neurodegenerative diseases. The center’s interdisciplinary programs draw together 50 faculty, 300 staff, and 250 graduate and post-graduate students from 26 UW-Madison academic departments. It is located on the west campus, across from UW Hospital and Clinics.

Additional information about the two-day celebration are on the web at http://www.waisman.wisc.edu/symposium2.html or call (608) 263-5940.