For universities with metropolitan campuses, a tried and true way to add student housing is to purchase and convert hotels into dorms.  That’s what the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) did recently and we are delighted to participate as Project Managers, Fabricators and Installers of the new signs.

In this case, the hotel was a project that stalled a number of years ago.  The building originally was slated to be an extended-stay hotel, but the project went bankrupt while it was under construction in 2008.

Thanks to a generous donation, MSOE acquired the building in October 2013 and completed the first phase of construction in time for the 2014-15 academic year. 184 students live in 102 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments on the fourth through ninth floors.

Located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, the tower and the new signage is highly visible to large volumes of pedestrian and motor traffic.  This will help the university reinforce its brand image in the local area.

Reaching New Heights

The top of the new MSOE sign is 160’ above the street on the 13th floor of the building.  It features:

  • The red MSOE cabinet is 16’ x 16’ x 16” deep fabricated aluminum cabinet w/ SignComp bleed tensioning frame.
  • Translucent Dark Red Cooley Brite II 20oz flexible faces.
  • Internally illuminated w/ 250’ of Osram/Sylvania 6500K 24v Single Sided Box LED’s.
  • Letters are 13’-3” tall x 5” deep welded fabricated aluminum w/ white polycarbonate faces mounted flush to cabinet flexface to internal framing on backside of flexface.
  • Letters are internally illuminated w/ 200’ of Osram/Sylvania 6500K 12v Backled Medium LED’s.
  • The “University” cabinet is 3’-4” tall x 16’ wide x 16” deep fabricated aluminum cabinet w/ routed aluminum faces, white polycarbonate back-up at copy w/ ¾” thick clear acrylic pushed-thru.  It is internally illuminated w/ 32’ of Osram/Sylvania 6500K 24v Single Sided Box LED’s.
  • The red MSOE cabinet w/ letters and “University” cabinet together contain approx. 350’ of 16 gauge secondary wiring going through the precast wall to the secondary hook-up box directly behind the sign.

To reduce potential servicing costs the power supplies are located inside the building. This will give MSOE’s maintenance crews the easy access they need to keep all of the sign’s electrical components in working condition.

Because the power supplies needed to be located approximately 50’ away from the sign inside the building in order to prevent any voltage drop approximately 2,000’ of 10 gauge secondary wiring was used to connect the power supplies to the secondary hook-up box located behind the sign.  The power supplies were only loaded to about 75% of their capacity.

Together the MSOE cabinet with letters and the University cabinet are powered by (18) Osram/Sylvania 24v 96w power supplies and (6) Osram/Sylvania 12v 60w power supplies.

Shout Out to the Team

We collaborated with the following on this project:

  • MSOE University Milwaukee – Customer
  • Uihlein/Wilson Architects
  • Hunzinger Construction – GC
  • Uihlein Electric
  • Ideal Crane Milwaukee

For a front row seat look at the sign installation, click here.

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