City of

District 18

Alder Rebecca Kemble

Image of Alder Rebecca Kemble

Alder Rebecca Kemble

Contact Information

Home Address:

4217 School Rd
Madison , WI 53704

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Kemble’s Blog

Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center Expansion Public Meeting

August 24, 2019 4:08 PM

This past Monday, August 19, 2019, approximately 50 people attended a public meeting on the campus of the Mendota Mental Health Institute (MMHI) to learn about the State of Wisconsin's plans for expanding the Mendota Juvenile Treatment Center (MJTC) to accomodate 50 more children. I convened the meeting as part of the City's Conditional Use Permit process. 

Thanks to MMHI Director Dr. Greg Van Rybroek, City of Madison Planner Chris Wells, State Department of Administration Project Manager Bob Hoffmann and BWBR Architect/Designer Laura Davis for their presentations.

Dr. Van Rybroek welcomed us to the MMHI Conference Center and explained their philosophy and practice of treatment that has been hailed as the gold standard in caring for children who he characterized as "people who were born in hell." He noted that five patients helped in the design process for the new building.

Chris Wells explained the City's Conditional Use Permit (CUP) process that governs land uses, value and enjoyment, health and welfare, and aesthetics. The standards by which the Plan Commission makes decisions are outlined in Madison General Ordinance 28.183(6).

Project Manager Bob Hoffmann explained that the passage of 2017 Act 185 mandates the closure of Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake schools by Jan 21, 2021 (amended to July 1 2021), and the expansion of MJTC to accommodate no fewer than 29 additional beds. The proposed project adds a total of 50 - 30 for boys and 20 for girls. This year's state budget allocated $43,944,000 to the project. Governor Evers has allowed for additional funding if approved by the State Building Commission and the legislature. The Building Commission's next meeting will be held on October 16, 2019 in the Governor's Office. Hoffmann said they plan to break ground in February, 2020.

Architect Laura Davis showed site maps and building plans describing the two new wings that will be built off the existing facility, as well as the parking lot expansion to the south of the building (see plans and maps in their application materials linked below). She explained that the building could not go higher than two stories because it is located in a historic district with height restrictions. 

Residents raised concerns about the following issues:

  • increased traffic and speeding on Green Ave. and Troy Dr., particularly at the School Rd intersection
  • neighborhood safety procedures in the event of a patient escape
  • the enlarged building and parking lot footprints on land that is sacred and culturally sensitive to the Ho Chunk Nation
  • continued public access to the campus 
  • potential future re-use or discontinued use of the facility
  • the late stage of the planning and design process at which information about the project was being shared with the public, and the State's failure to seek public input on the project at any time

The Plan Commision will hold a public hearing on the State's CUP application this Monday, August 26, 2019 at 5:45pm in room 201 of the City County Building.You can see all application materials and staff comments in documents attached to this link. Please direct all comments to



Email to a friend Email to a friend

Subscribe to Email List

Subscribe to the District 18 – Alder Kemble email list:

By participating on this list the Wisconsin Public Records Laws may subject your email address to disclosure to third parties. By selecting "Yes" you are requesting that we treat your email address that you have provided to this list as confidential and you are also stating that you would not participate in this service if the City is obligated to release your email address to such third party requesters.




Event Announcement
Meeting Announcement
Meeting Report