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Feldman, Jim (Writer) / The buildings of the University of Wisconsin

Orthopedic hospital,   pp. 221-222

Page 222

Arthur Peabody.
Bids were opened on May 24, 1930, and the contract was awarded to the lowest bidder, J. H.
Kelly of Madison for $205,700. With subcontracts and miscellaneous cost the total cost of the hospi-
tal was $300,000. By the fall of 1930, several houses and small buildings occupying the site were
removed, and the north end of Randall Street was closed. The cornerstone ceremony was held on
November 8, 1930, with speeches by governor Kohler and president Frank. The hospital was opened
on June 5, 1931.1
The finished buff brick building had a three story eighty foot square center section at the
corner, with two story wings projecting 92 feet to the west and south and a full basement. The center
section has a red tile hipped roof, while the wings have flat roofs. The parts of the basement above
ground are sheathed in Missouri marble, while the rest of the trim on the building is Indiana lime-
stone. The court yard between the wings was intended as an outdoor exercise yard. There are reliefs
of children's heads on the upper portion of the center section.
The capacity of the hospital was 113 patients, with a two bedroom suite for staff. The kitchen,
laundry and swimming pool were in the basement. Operating rooms and an x-ray facility were located
in the center section third floor.
For thirty years the hospital served it's intended purpose very well, including the terrible polio
epidemic in the early 1950s. In May 1961 the regents announced a gift of $225,000 from the
Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. foundation (named for Joseph Sr. and Rose Kennedy's eldest son) for the
support of the research program in mental retardation.
By October of 1961, it had been decided to build an addition to the orthopedic hospital to
house the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., laboratories. State architect Karel Yasko designed the addition
which consisted of a third floor added to the south wing of the building.2 Upon further review it was
decided that this was an appropriate time to update and remodel the whole building, so another year
went by in the preparation of these additional plans. As estimated in October of 1962 the total cost of
the remodelling would be $500,000 of which $265,000 came from the Kennedy fund. The mental
retardation research program was headed by Dr. Harry A. Waisman of the department of pediatrics.
The addition and remodelling was dedicated November 20, 1963, by Edward Kennedy,
R. Sargent Shriver, Harry Waisman and governor Reynolds. Two days later the Kennedy family lost
another son.
With the construction of the Waisman center in 1971 and the removal of the hospital functions
to the new hospital and clinics building in the late 1970s, the original functions of the orthopedic
hospital were gone and the first phase of the building's life came to an end. In 1976 the University
assigned the building to the department of Nutritional Sciences. This new use was inaugurated in
1979 when the state approved a remodelling project at a cost of $1.4 million. This remodelling was
nominally completed in 1982, when the department moved in, but difficulties with environmental
systems plagued the building for another four years.3
1) Daily Cardinal, June 5, 1931, p. 1
2) Regent's Minutes, October 20, 1961. p. 5, September 14, 1962 exhibit H.
3) Harper to Wendt, March 16, 1976, Harper to Shain, April 25, 1979, request to state building commission, October
1979, Ganther to Fulop, November 12, 1986, series 9/31/9-3 box 6, Nutritional Science folder.

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