Construction officials on Friday reported the $456 million Baird Center expansion went above and beyond its goals to involve minority- and women-owned businesses and Milwaukee residents. However, there was still work to be done as workforce goals for women in the workforce arrived under expectations.

When the project started, it had goals to assign 25% of its contracts to minority-owned businesses, 5% to women-owned businesses and 1% to disabled veteran-owned businesses.

To date, the project engaged 25.3% minority-owned businesses, 16.5% women-owned businesses and 1% disabled veteran-owned businesses, reported James Methu, the community affairs and inclusion specialist at Gilbane Building Co., to the Wisconsin Center District board.

The project also followed the city of Milwaukee’s Residents Preference Program, which requires contractors bidding on projects partly funded with public tax dollars. Of the 40% goal to recruit workers from economically depressed zip codes, contractors surpassed the goal at 47.9% hires from impacted areas.

The interior and exterior construction work of the Baird Center’s northward expansion is 99% complete, said Mike Abrams, the vice president of CAA ICON, the owner’s representative for the Wisconsin Center District.

Crews are making last minute adjustments as the project enters its 30th month, Abrams said. Construction will be substantially completed on March 29, and systems and owner training are scheduled over April.

Click here to read the full article.