Madison College’s new south campus has officially become a reality as shovels dug into the ground on Badger Road Monday Afternoon. During a major, well-attended ceremony, construction on a new state-of-the-art facility began.
For many on the South Side and for everyone in attendance, the shovels that broke ground for the brand new Goodman South Madison Campus also served to break the perception of South Madison and forever alter the future of that community.
“Many years from now we will reflect on this day as a day of community advancement in Madison,” said Madison College President Jack E. Daniels III. “Today we begin a journey. We build bridges, not barriers. We combine, not fractionalize. Building a new south campus isn’t just about Madison College. It’s about making our community better. It’s about answering the call to break the multi-generational curse of poverty. It’s about opening the door to the future of possibilities that have escaped those who live here.”
The Goodman South Madison Campus center is at the intersection of Park and Badger, right in the heart of Madison’s south side. Two staples of that community, Centro Hispano and Urban League of Greater Madison, will suddenly have a massive new ally as they fight for the lives of youth and families in Madison’s most vulnerable and underprivileged area.
“I know that there are a lot of people in this community who have felt so separated from downtown and greater Madison,” said MGE community services manager Mario Garcia Sierra. “The fact that they will now see a college campus right in their neighborhood will be a sign that the needs of their community are finally a priority. The building will house careers, for sure, but more importantly, the building itself will transform the realities and dreams and aspirations of so many people in this neighborhood who look like me. And I’m proud to say that Centro right across the street is ready to partner with you and we’re excited about the time that youth and parents come to be part of the program and right across the street they can see that there is a college here. So the idea of going to college will seem much less daunting not only for them but for their parents.”
Dr. Ruben Anthony, President of the Urban League, said that he envisions the vibrant energy of youth being present around the neighborhood as being transformative.
“This is going to transform the south side,” Anthony said. “Young people with energy will be around here. It is a great opportunity for us. This is a game changer.”
The Goodman South Campus was made possible by the individual donations of several community entities which was a goal of Madison College. President Daniels said that from the beginning Madison College hoped to be able to accomplish this without going to a public referendum.
Because of the lead gift of $10 million from the Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman Foundation along with a $10.2 million gift from Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation and generosity of entities like CUNA Mutual, American Family Insurance and Exact Sciences, the new campus is expected to be open for classes in the Fall of 2019.
That date will be years earlier than originally envisioned. At first,
the construction of the new campus was expected to be completed in three different phases. But Great Lakes made a larger donation in October 2017 that allowed for the completion of the 75,000-square foot building in one single phase.
The South Campus will include an academy that earns college credits for high school kids as they complete their high school diploma, with a unique opportunity to get their Associate of Science degree at the same time as their high school diploma.
The academy, called STEM, will provide classrooms for high school juniors and seniors from across the Madison Metropolitan School District.
Jennifer Cheatham, the Superintendent of the MMSD, says that this upcoming Fall, 25 students will participate in the dual student program with the ultimate goal of having 200 students participate on a regular basis. Students will be able to earn college transfer credits while still in high school and Cheatham expects that the program will have a great impact on women, students of color and first-generation college students.
“This means that this community will have access to the
programs that will guide them to good employment, further their higher education and will also be an economic boost to this community,” President Daniels told Madison365.
The proximity to Madison Metro’s South Transfer Point, the Beltline and a large urban area where opportunity is desperately needed will all contribute to making the south campus a vital organ in the future of Madison.
“This is an exciting time, a historic moment,” said Madison Alder Sheri Carter. “This campus represents the opportunity for advancement and enrichment. And we will welcome and put out the welcome mat for all those who want to attend and we will help those that are hesitant to cross that threshold together. Our support doesn’t end in this groundbreaking but it continues as we continue to support this campus as a part of this community. This is the opportunity that is right at our doorstep.”