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Feldman, Jim / The buildings of the University of Wisconsin

Primate annex,   pp. 260-261

Page 260

Fig. 1. The Primate Annex, 1994. The
Orchard Street section is at the left,
and the camera is looking down
Capitol Court. [Author Photo, AP-28]
Built as commercial warehouse space in the 1940s, the primate center first rented
space here in the 1970s. The buildings were purchased by the University in 1986.
Major remodellings took place in 1988 and 1993.
he federally funded Primate Center was too small almost as soon as it opened in the spring of
1964. Its mission-to provide research space to scientists from other academic disciplines and
from other institutions in the Midwest-required more space. As early as 1966 Dr. Harry Harlow
began planning an expansion of the centerbuilding to the north to cross Capitol Court.
The property on the north side of Capitol Court was occupied by a pair of buildings owned by
Edward and Charles Carpenter, who had built a warehouse at 1220 Capitol Court in about 1947 and
rented it to a series of businesses. The primary resident of the building was the Wisconsin State
Selective Service Office, who arrived in 1947. The Moser Paper Company began to rent part of the space
in the 1960s. The location was profitable enough that the Carpenters built another building on the property
in 1954 that faced on Orchard Street. This buildingwas rentedby a series ofaluminumwindow manufactur-
ers and Madison Casket Wholesalers. 1
In 1971 the Primate Center began to lease parts of the buildings as an alternative to expanding
the center. Through the 1970s the Center leased increasing amounts of the Carpenter's buildings, and
by 1984 the Center occupied more than half of the Capitol Court building, sharing the rest with Moser
Paper. In 1983 after eleven years of occupancy, discussions began to purchase the building. Besides
the money lost by the University in leasing rather than owning building space, Federal grant money, the
lifeblood of the Primate Center, forbade the expenditure of grant funds on leased facilities. Another
serious consideration was that international concerns for the care and feeding of primates periodically
threatened to cut off the supply of experimental animals. The Federal Primate program encouraged its
regional centers to develop breeding programs. For all these reasons the University placed the acqui-
sition of the Capitol Court property on the priority building list for the 1981-83 biennium, but because
of budget considerations was deferred until the 1985-87 biennium.2

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