Whitewater Innovation Center working toward March opening
Construction on the 38,000-square-foot Innovation Center is finished, and the technology park's board is planning an open house and grand opening.
Whitewater City Manager Kevin Brunner said close to half of the building already is designated to the center's first few tenants.
Brunner hopes to announce a couple more tenants by the end of the month, but leases have yet to be signed.
The center will serve as a business incubator to help entrepreneurs get started.
The center signed two tenants last year: Cooperative Educational Service Agency 2, the state's largest cooperative educational service agency, and Jefferson Eastern Dane Interactive Network, a virtual classroom and distance-learning business.
Brunner said the university also leased some space.
UW-Whitewater officials announced last week the Innovation Center earned honorable mention from the International Economic Development Council through its Excellence in Economic Development awards program.
The Whitewater Community Development Authority received recognition because of its programs and partnerships, and "efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban and rural communities," according to the university.
The council handed out 131 awards and honorable mentions.
"The Innovation Center will be a nurturing, start-up place for new technologies," UW-Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer said. "Inventors and entrepreneurs will get the opportunity to advance their ideas. I'm proud of the partnership between the city and the university that made this project a reality."
The Innovation Center is viewed as a way to retain local college graduates. Ronald Gayhart, director of the Center for Innovation and Business Development at the university, said tenants will look for graduates with science degrees to conduct experiments, marketing professionals to promote the work and accountants to assist with finances.
The center also might need human resources employees to help with staffing, he added.