Smaller government office spaces, better use of tax dollars part of State’s Vision 2030 plan

MADISON, Wis. — The State of Wisconsin Department of Administration is attempting to address several issues to “best serve the people of Wisconsin in the coming decade,” according to the DOA’s Vision 2030 plan. The plan would tackle the aging infrastructure, aging state workforce, limitations on where government workers can work and the increasing need to deliver government services more efficiently.

DOA Secretary Joel Brennan said the workforce was already changing before the pandemic, but the last year acted as a springboard for what the next decade in Madison could look like.

The DOA’s plan includes consolidating and revitalizing Block 108 along Webster Street in Downtown Madison, which includes the Department of Workforce Development Building, by combining a number of government service offices and moving the Wisconsin Historical Society Museum and the Wisconsin Veteran’s Museum into the building.

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“Buildings like this have a life,” Brennan said of the DWD building. “The useful lifespan of this building in its current form is probably gone but the property itself and the real estate can be hugely valuable for the Madison community, the State of Wisconsin and our citizens moving forward.”

The Wisconsin Historical Society wrote in an email to News 3 Now, “The Wisconsin Historical Society’s Board of Curators approved moving forward with Block 108 as the preferred site for the museum with the caveat that the museum would remain separate and distinctive from the other development on the site, and that the museum open no later than 2026. We are working through the capital budget process and look forward to a resolution on the museum site so that we can begin design. Unlike some of the other elements of the 2030 vision, the construction budget for the new Wisconsin History Museum is fully funded and we look forward to finalizing the site selection for the museum this summer, selecting a design team, and building the museum to stay on track with our schedule.”

Secretary Mary Kolar with the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs told News 3 Now over the phone,” It’s wonderful to see that a new facility is being considered for the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. This gives us an opportunity to share this state treasure with even more being able to access a new building. We are hoping to be able to expand our exhibits and update our exhibits.”

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The Vision 2030 plan also includes consolidating within the Tommy G. Thompson Building, which is already underway, with the move of the Department of Children and Families from its current building into the Tommy G. Thompson facility. According to the plan, “This move will
reduce state leased space by 29,685 square feet and create a cost savings of $652,742 annually. In addition, the Department of Tourism
is relocating from the Tommy G. Thompson Building to vacant space within a state-owned facility.”

The plan also includes redeveloping the two General Executive Finance buildings next to the DWD building to, “ensure the ability for the departments of Natural Resources, Public Instruction, Health Services, and Administration, and the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, and other state agencies to operate effectively and efficiently in a smaller Madison footprint.”

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The DOA also plans to redevelop the current Department of Administration and Department of Health Services facilities on Wilson Street in
Downtown Madison.

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The State legislature and joint finance committee will need to approve $4 million in planning money for these plans to move forward.Brennan said conversations about these plans will happen in the next two years and work on this could start as soon as 2023-2025.