Opus Development Corporation Completes Construction on Marquette University’s Eckstein Hall, Receives LEED® Silver Certification

MILWAUKEE, Wis. - The Milwaukee Office of Opus Development Corporation announced the completion of construction on Marquette University’s new law school building, Ray and Kay Eckstein Hall. The 205,000-square-foot, $85 million project opened its doors to students and faculty in August. Opus served as the design builder on the project, teaming up with Shepley Bulfinch, Boston, as the design architect and Opus AE Group as the architect of record.

Milwaukee’s only law school, Eckstein Hall includes two model courtrooms, 11 classrooms, 85 faculty and staff offices grouped into suites, library space with a two-story reading room, a conference center and a cafe. Housed within the structure is a two-story parking garage with 171 spaces, providing convenience and safety for staff and students. 

“We are honored to have been on Marquette’s team for this project. Every step of the design and construction has been about seeking excellence, a motto clearly established by this great Law School,” said Julie Ledger, Vice President/General Manager for Opus Development Corporation. 

The building’s interior mirrors the exquisite nature of its exterior design. The interior is designed around the dramatic four-story Zilber Forum, which serves as a crossroads to all parts of the building. With its monumental staircase and intimate fireplace and seating area, the Zilber Forum creates an environment in which students and community members want to engage in conversation and debate. 

The new building also features a unique “library without borders,” which seamlessly integrates the law library into all four floors of the building – a path-breaking feature among law schools across the nation. 

Eckstein Hall Receives LEED®  – Silver Certification
The U.S. Green Building Council awarded Ray and Kay Eckstein Hall with LEED® – Silver Certification. LEED®- Silver (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. 

Marquette University, Opus and Shepley Bulfinch along with the many subcontractors that worked on the project, were committed to constructing an energy efficient building and receiving LEED® – Silver certification. 

Eckstein Hall is the latest of a series of highly sustainable law schools designed by Shepley Bulfinch, including Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver, the country’s first LEED® Gold certified law school; and the LEED®-certified expansion of Duke Law School. It is the firm’s second major academic building on the Marquette campus in recent years: the firm worked in tandem with Opus to complete Raynor Library in 2003. 

“As we began the process of designing Eckstein Hall, our first priority was to build a facility that would enable us to provide an exceptional legal education,” Joseph D. Kearney, dean of the Law School, said. “But as we began talking to alumni, students and others, it was quickly apparent that this magnificent building would also be an important opportunity to signal Marquette’s commitment to the environment and sustainable building practices. The LEED®-Silver certification is another point of pride for the Marquette Law School community.” 

Eckstein received points toward LEED®- Silver certification through various initiatives, including:   
  • Achieving 41 percent water-usage reduction through the installation of dual-flush toilets and low-flush urinals, lavatories, showers and kitchen sinks.
  • Recycling more than 1,354 tons of on-site generated construction waste rather than dumping it in landfills.
  • Utilizing recycled materials for more than 31 percent of the total building materials.
  • Using local materials that were extracted, harvested, recovered and/or manufactured within 500 miles of downtown Milwaukee for 41.7 percent of the building materials.
 “Our goal was to develop a new, state-of-the-art educational facility that complemented the existing architectural feel of Marquette’s campus, while staying true to sustainable, environment-friendly construction,” said Ledger. “Working with Marquette, we were proud to meet and exceed that goal with a one-of-a-kind building that blends seamlessly into the campus’ architectural structure while bringing a modern, green touch to the campus.” 

Spanning a nearly 40-year partnership with Marquette University, Eckstein Hall is the 12th University building Opus has built on campus since 1972. Opus recently completed Marquette’s Zilber Hall, the University’s 130,000-sqaure-foot, $27 million dollar student services/administration building and is currently under construction on the Discovery Learning Complex, future home of the Marquette College of Engineering. 

In addition to being awarded LEED®- Silver certification, Eckstein Hall has been honored by Milwaukee’s Daily Reporter publication as one of 30 outstanding Wisconsin projects. The law school was also named Project of the Year in The Business Journal’s 2011 Real Estate Awards program. 

Opus Development Corporation is one of the region’s leading full-service real estate development and design-build firms. Recent notable projects completed by the Milwaukee office include Waukesha’s Shoppes at Fox River, The Honey Creek Corporate Center, multiple buildings at Marquette University, including the new law school, Northwestern Mutual’s Franklin Campus and Oakwood Crossing Business Center in Oak Creek.  

About The Opus Group
The Opus Group™ is a family of national commercial real estate companies headquartered in Minneapolis, with expertise in development, project management and construction, architecture and engineering, finance, sales and leasing. The Opus Group includes Opus Holding, L.L.C. and Opus Holding, Inc. and their operating subsidiaries, Opus Development Corporation, Opus Design Build, L.L.C. and Opus AE Group, Inc. Specializing in office, industrial, retail, residential living, institutional and government projects, The Opus Group has broad capabilities, deep experience and a proven design-build model that delivers solutions for customers on time and on budget. For more information, visit www.opus-group.com

About Shepley Bulfinch
Established in 1874, Shepley Bulfinch (www.shepleybulfinch.com) is a national leader in higher education design for university clients including Marquette, Duke, Harvard, Johns Hopkins; and Arizona State. Shepley Bulfinch is consistently ranked among the country’s top 100 design firms by Architectural Record and among the country’s top 100 Green Design Firms by ENR magazine. The firm provides architecture, planning, and interior design services from its offices in Boston and Phoenix.