After many setbacks, Milwaukee will have the basketball-specific facility it’s sought for most of the decade
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee officials announced Wednesday that they would proceed with expanding the Klotsche Center to create a dedicated practice area for the Milwaukee Panthers’ basketball teams. The announcement appears to be the end of a drawn-out saga to provide such a facility.
In 2014, the school made a proposal for a separate facility to be built just east of the Klotsche Center. This facility would have been a two-story building with a dedicated weight room, locker rooms, a study area and a practice court. The proposed facility was to be connected to the Klotsche Center by a climate-controlled walkway, primarily for the purposes of the women’s basketball team that plays its games in the Klotsche Center.
Cuts to the school’s budget caused the initial proposal to be delayed in 2015, then again in 2017 before being downsized in 2018. Governor Scott Walker lost his 2018 re-election bid and funding for the Klotsche Center Annex was included in the state’s new budget, which new Governor Tony Evers approved last month.
While it doesn’t have the bells and whistles of the original plan, the Klotsche Annex should still provided much-needed relief to the Panther athletic programs. During my time as a student manager for the Panther Women’s Basketball program early this decade, there would be days where we shared a gym with the volleyball team while the men’s basketball players dribbled around along the sideline waiting for our practice to finish. Alleviating these problems can only benefit the school’s athletics.
However, that doesn’t even get into the issues presented in the school’s release about the doubling of intramural sports participation over the last decade. It’s hard to imagine the nightmare of scheduling practices today when gyms were crammed with several teams prior to that growth. Is this expansion going to be a temporary solution that’s inadequate shortly after the project’s estimated 2023 completion date?