February 20, 2018
Sharon Corrigan, County Board Chair 608.333.2285
County Board

County awards contract to Perkins Will for next phase


In a key step forward in the redevelopment of the Alliant Energy Center (AEC), county officials have selected an award-winning, international firm to prepare a comprehensive master plan for the 164-acre campus and all of its facilities including the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Exposition Hall, New Holland Pavilions and Willow Island.


Perkins Will was selected among seven highly-qualified firms that applied for the contract. The firm has broad experience in exposition facilities including the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee. County Board approval of the contract is expected on March 15.


John Slack, the project principal, said, “This project represents a unique opportunity for Dane County to create a comprehensive and visionary master plan that responds to the evolving needs of visitors, provides an authentic experience, creates a gateway to the City, and reinforces the AEC as a self-sustaining regional entertainment destination”.


The AEC Comprehensive Master Plan Oversight Committee, which will oversee the work of the consultant, includes representatives of Dane County, the city of Madison, the tourism industry and local business leaders. The campus master plan is the next step in the long-term planning for the AEC led by the committee, which completed a detailed market and economic impact analysis last year along with a vision and implementation framework, both of which will be used to steer the more detailed campus plan.


“This is an exciting next step on the road to creating a solid, actionable plan for how to make better use of this key regional asset,” says County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan. “We are anxious to start seeing some tangible results from all of the hard pre-work that has been done as we enter into the third of four phases of the comprehensive Master Planning Process.” 


Supporters see the project as part of a broad effort to transform the property into a catalyst for economic development by attracting more visitors in addition to creating new opportunities for the adjacent neighborhoods in south Madison.


Deb Archer, President & CEO of the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors’ Bureau and Madison Area Sports Commission, as well as an AEC Oversight Committee member, pointed to the potential boost for the region.


“We are thrilled to see this important project moving forward,” she says. “The Alliant Energy Center campus is in the heart of Dane County and -- with thoughtful planning -- has the potential to further contribute to the growing visitor economy that enriches the quality of life for the city, the campus and the entire state.”


It is anticipated that development on the campus will take place in multi-year phases as officials work on the various financial and governance aspects of the project.


The vision document, led by Madison-based Vandewalle & Associates in their continuing role of providing overall project management services to the Committee, found strong community and business support for the project -- which also puts a major focus on improving connections between the AEC, surrounding businesses and nearby Lake Monona.


The effort included input sessions with potential redevelopment site owners, local businesses, city and county officials and neighborhood residents. Feedback was also gathered via POLCO, an online polling service, and from comments gathered during Brat Fest and other public events.


The AEC campus is considered by many as the region’s premier, multi-venue expo, convention and event destination, providing a place for major events that attract visitors from across the country and around the world. More information on the project can be found on the project website at


Perkins Will, in business since 1935, has 2,200 professionals with offices throughout the world. The AEC project will be a collaboration between their Minneapolis and Denver offices.