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The Milwaukee Rep is sinking

The wooden pilings beneath the Milwaukee Rep, site of a former Wisconsin Electric Power House, are sinking and so is the building. The blame appears to be a water table about 8 feet lower than normal which is causing the tops of the tamarack timbers used for pilings to deteriorate in the oxygen.Journal Sentinel photo by Rick Wood RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Milwaukee Rep is sinking

By John Mercure. CREATED Feb 17, 2014

A chronically-dropping water table is causing the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre to sink. Without immediate repairs the historic building could be irreparably damaged.

The 115-year-old building is built on a series of wooden pilings adjacent to the Milwaukee River. For a hundred years the piling stayed wet underground. In the past several years the water table beneath the Rep complex has dropped more than eight feet, exposing the pilings to air. The air exposure causes the pilings to rot and fail.

Now a long-term fix is needed. The fix will cost at least $1.75 million and will take up to nine months to complete.

Where will the money come from? Has any irreversible harm already been done?

The Rep's Managing Director Chad Bauman joined us to talk about it.

John Mercure

John Mercure

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Emmy-winning journalist, John Mercure brings more than 20 years of reporting and anchoring experience to his position at NEWSRADIO 620 WTMJ.