by Dan Rafter
Some construction projects just mean more than others. For Rob Myers, construction executive in the Milwaukee office of Mortenson Construction, one of those projects is the Sojourner Family Peace Center.
Located in Milwaukee, the 72,000-square-foot center hosts a 56-bed shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children. It is also home to more than 40 officers working in the Milwaukee Police Department’s Sensitive Crime Unit, a unit whose officers investigate child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence and missing persons cases.
The Soujourner Family Peace Center opened at West Walnut and North Sixth streets in 2015. When Myers sees the center today, he is proud that he and Mortenson Construction played a role in creating this haven for the victims of domestic violence.
“It isn’t the largest or the most complex project that we worked on,” Myers said. “But it is special because of who the customers are and because of the center’s reach in the community. The center is well-known in the community for the help that it provides. To bring the police and the people who work at the center together under one roof, that’s what made this a special project for us.”
Mortenson officials and the executive director of the center, Carmen Pitre, worked closely together on the project to make sure that the completed center would meet the needs of both the officers working in the sensitive crime unit and the families that would be seeking shelter there, Myers said.
“Seeing the executive director’s passion for taking on such a sensitive and tough issue was part of what made this a special project for us,” Myers said.
Other key tenants of the peace center are Aurora Health Care, which offers testing and treatment for the victims of sexual assault; the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare; Milwaukee Public Schools; Legal Action of Wisconsin; Marquette University; Jewish Family Services; and Wraparound Milwaukee.
The goal was to bring all of these organizations — all of which deal with the impact and consequences of violence — into one facility.
To help realize that goal was something of which Myers, and his fellow officials at Mortenson, are still proud.
“For this project, the pride isn’t necessarily just in the finished building,” Myers said. “For this project, is more about the mission behind the building. That’s what makes this project stand out.”