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Discover Our Bucyrus Campus

By September 15, 2015No Comments9 min read

St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care opened its newly-constructed Bucyrus Campus at 2450 W. North Avenue in September 2015. The $21 million, 80,000 square-foot facility brings child and adult day care and services for families, caregivers and the community to Milwaukee’s near north side, among the most underserved neighborhoods in the city.

St. Ann Center spent five years assessing the needs of the near north side. “I have come to know that the people who live here want the same things as any neighborhood wants,” says Sister Edna Lonergan, OSF, St. Ann Center president. “Good schools, healthy children, beautiful surroundings, good jobs, and social services that care for parents when they can no longer care for themselves.”

Welcome to the Bucyrus Campus

The Bucyrus Campus is a replication of St. Ann Center’s Stein Campus, located on Milwaukee’s south side for over 30 years.  The Center is a fully-integrated intergenerational day care facility, bringing together people of all ages and all abilities in one home-like setting. Programs offer community-based day services that promote health, well-being and independence for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and serve adults of all ages with physical, developmental, and mental disabilities. Services include whirlpool baths, nutritious meals, art, music, health and wellness-focused therapies—and most importantly, intergenerational activities that inspire interaction between the generations—from infants to adults age 90-plus.

In the U.S., older African Americans are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. St. Ann Center’s Bucyrus Campus is the only facility of its size with a focus on the needs and interests of African American residents with severe physical and cognitive disabilities and mental health issues.

One result of St. Ann Center’s adult day services has been fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits — and lower health care costs. Many of the programs are designed to enable people to remain with their families and other caregivers instead of living in nursing homes. Since many of the center’s services are available “ala carte” to the general public, people need not be day care clients to benefit from what St. Ann Center offers.

The Bucyrus Campus also provides state-licensed childcare for infants and toddlers, a Head Start and Early Head Start program, after-school and summer camp programs, all providing a safe, motivational and nurturing environment. Children from our day care join adult clients for educational and fun-filled activities on a regular basis, resulting in mutual understanding, respect and shared joy across the generations.

Another youth project offered by the Bucyrus Campus is the Buddy Program, a service learning program for youths ages 11 to 15. This program is an educational mentoring project aimed at strengthening intergenerational relations and increasing respect for diversity. Run in collaboration with the Milwaukee County Department on Aging and local schools, the program connects youth with older adults and people with disabilities in Milwaukee area senior centers.  The prominence of single-parent households in the community and an increasing under-18 population highlight the growing need for St. Ann Center’s model of quality, accessible and affordable childcare and teen mentoring.

Serving Community Health Needs

The Gardetto Family Community Dental Clinic, which opened in August 2016, is one of only three clinics in the state that specifically serves children and adults who have cognitive or physical disabilities that prevent them from being treated in standard private practice and community clinics. The three-chair clinic is open to Wisconsin residents with referral by a doctor or dentist and accepts all forms of Medicaid.

A Bucyrus Campus Medical Clinic aims to be a health care home to the north side community. Its primary focus will be on comprehensive care and health education. Unlike a walk-in clinic or urgent care, the clinic will serve as a resource center directing patients to community programs that will help them identify and address their health concerns. Services include: treatment of minor illnesses and injuries, health screenings and physicals, chronic disease management, preventative care, holistic and integrative medicine and medication management.

On the Horizon

Future plans for the Bucyrus Campus include a state-of-the-art Alzheimer’s, dementia and memory care unit, a nine-room short-term residential-stay respite unit, an indoor warm-water therapy pool, gymnasium, beauty salon and multi-fiber arts room. Plans for the 7.5-acre grounds include a 350-seat accessible band shell for community-based entertainment, interfaith church services and special events; a lighted walking path and community orchard. St. Ann Center is continuing a capital campaign to complete the facility.

Constructing a Dream

The site for the Bucyrus Campus, vacant for decades, was sold for $1 by the City of Milwaukee. St. Ann Center and Zimmerman Architectural Studios were committed to helping revive a neighborhood that has too long been affected by poverty and crime. Groundbreaking took place November 18, 2014.

Priority was placed on making the facility energy-efficient, and features an expansive skylight to help minimize heating, cooling and lighting costs. Outside, two playgrounds were constructed for the childcare program, including one that is accessible to children with physical disabilities.

During discussions with neighborhood groups and residents, Sister Edna asked for opinions on what decorative theme(s) should be used inside the building. Considering their feedback, it was decided the first floor would reflect and African theme, while the second-floor respite unit would take decorating elements from the southern U.S., where many African-Americans have family ties. The first floor, including a central intergenerational park, was designed and decorated by Spolar Art Studios to resemble an African village and marketplace.

A donated collection of paintings by artists from the Republic of Congo is on permanent display at the center. Child day care rooms are named for African animals. Fabrics brightening the walls and ceilings come from Cameroon, where the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, the sponsors of St. Ann Center, have established a mission to serve families living in poverty.

To accommodate clients with dementia, a soft-surfaced pacing track will soon be completed.  Walking in labyrinth-like circles calms people with dementia and curbs their anxiety and agitation. Work stations placed around the track will give them the opportunity to focus on simple tasks like digging in a gardening box or assembling a puzzle.

Building the Community from Within

Shortly before the Bucyrus Campus opened, St. Ann Center collaborated with the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, holding a job fair there. Some 600 people from the neighborhood attended, applying for positions as early childhood education teachers, RNs, CNAs, PCWs and LPNs, building and grounds staff, kitchen and housekeeping staff, receptionists, drivers and security. The Bucyrus Campus has already created 65 local jobs and will employ 200 upon completion. The facility is designed to serve 230 children and 300 adults a day.

“This is a building for the people, by the people,” says Lonergan. “We’re blessed to be part of a great neighborhood that’s been too long neglected. There’s so much goodness, talent and potential here.” According to Tim Sullivan, former CEO of Bucyrus International and capital campaign chair of the Bucyrus Campus, “I think that this is the most exciting, transformational, community project in the city ever.”

A major driver of economic development, the Bucyrus Campus now holds two Business Incubators per year to assist struggling small business hopefuls, and hosts dozens of business, government, and community development meetings. It has also taken a lead role in environmental remediation efforts in order to ensure a healthy environment for all neighborhood residents.

From the early planning stages, St. Ann Center has collaborated with neighborhood churches, businesses and community development groups to encourage involvement and ownership of the Bucyrus Campus by the surrounding neighborhood. Blue Skies Landscaping, an African American owned and operated business located in the Bucyrus Campus neighborhood, is the caretaker for all the Center’s landscaping and snow plowing needs. Construction contractor CG Schmidt hired workers from One Hope Made Strong (OHMS), a non-profit organization designed to empower and motivate young disadvantaged men and women with the tools that they need to gain meaningful employment in various trade industries.

Currently, St. Ann Center is collaborating with Parklawn Assembly of God Church in fundraising and construction planning for a community band shell on the Bucyrus Campus grounds. Plans are to utilize local tradesmen in the band shell construction. Also, Sister Edna Lonergan, Diane Beckley, COO of the Bucyrus Campus, and Chris Jackson, Vice President of St. Ann Center Building and Grounds are members of the North Avenue Marketplace BID and are active on a charrette working to develop five to seven properties in the immediate neighborhood.

Community Collaboration

Over 30 collaborators played a part in the realization of St. Ann Center’s Bucyrus Campus. Among them are: Next Door Foundation, which oversees the center’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs; Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, Inc., which helped in the recruitment of neighborhood residents for jobs at the new center; the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, which supports the center’s newly opened dental clinic for people with disabilities; Aurora Health Care’s Better Together Fund which supported the completion of the medical clinic; Parklawn Assembly of God, which is spearheading fundraising for a 350-seat community band shell on the campus grounds; Alderman Russell W. Stamper II and BID 32, collaborators on a north side business incubator; and Walnut Way Conservation Corps which handles landscaping for the new campus.

Other key partners include:

CG Schmidt: Besides serving as the Bucyrus Campus’ construction contractor, they hosted several fundraisers and helped St. Ann Center identify donor prospects

Zimmerman Architectural Studio: The designers and architects of the Bucyrus Campus facility, they have consistently supported, sponsored and attended St. Ann Center special events and fundraisers

City of Milwaukee: Sold St. Ann Center the 7.5 acre site for the Bucyrus Campus for $1. 15th District Alderman Russell Stamper helped host a neighborhood job fair and identified sources for employees

North Avenue Marketplace BID 32: Sharing our vision to revitalize the neighborhood, the BID serves as an ambassador for St. Ann Center in the community and a collaborator in strengthening and energizing the neighborhood

St. Ann Center Bucyrus Campus Awards:

Nonprofit Collaboration of the Year 2016 (BizTimes Media)

Real Estate Awards-Most Creative Deal 2016 (Milwaukee Business Journal)

MANDI Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development 2016

Top Projects of 2015 Finalist (statewide construction) (Daily Reporter)


St. Ann Center is working diligently to clean up the grounds of our campus from prior incomplete construction projects. We have partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure safe land usage for healthier community. Read about the soil cleanup efforts.

Documentation of our efforts:

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