Finding a home away from home at MATC

With help from faculty and staff, students move into Westown Green Apartments at Downtown Milwaukee Campus

Mark Feldmann,

August 17, 2022

Westown Green

MILWAUKEE – Kale Stephens grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana; graduated from high school in Suwannee, Florida; and attended community college in Independence, Kansas.

But he has found a home at Westown Green, Milwaukee Area Technical College’s student housing apartments, conveniently located a couple blocks from the Downtown Milwaukee Campus. Stephens came to Milwaukee in January to play for the MATC men’s basketball team and has lived at Westown Green since then.

“It’s a place where I can get away from things and have my own personal space,” he said. “The neighborhood is great. It’s in a really nice area. And if there are any problems, they get taken care of right away.”

Nearly 200 MATC students moved into Westown Green on August 15. MATC faculty and staff helped students move wheeled carts full of furniture and furnishings into the amenity-rich, state-of-the-art student apartment building. Dr. Vicki J. Martin, MATC president, greeted students.

See TV coverage of the move-in

Located at 925 North Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Westown Green opened in August 2021 in the eastern half of the former Milwaukee Journal Sentinel building. The innovative, affordable apartments aim to combat housing insecurity for MATC students. The 83 furnished units include studio, two-bedroom and four-bedroom apartments. Amenities include in-unit washer and dryer, free high-speed internet, fitness center, community room, computer lab and study lounges. On August 15, the building was about 95% occupied with a few apartments available to lease before the start of MATC’s Fall semester. 

A number of students unpacking on the move-in day were from out of state. They looked forward to living at Westown Green because it met their needs for affordable housing near campus.

Michael Burke came from the western suburbs of Chicago to participate in MATC’s emergency services and paramedic technician programs based at the Oak Creek Campus.

In June, Burke graduated from Timothy Christian High School in Naperville, Illinois. He considered attending Western Illinois University and Eastern Illinois University, but decided he wasn’t ready for a four-year college. 

“I think that a setting like that would be a little too intense for me right now,” Burke said. “I’m easing myself into it.”

Burke will live with three roommates at Westown Green. He moved in with the help of his mother and two brothers. “Everything has gone really smooth,” he said. “We visited here during an open house in April and really liked everything. This is a really nice city.”

Melinda Calnimptewa, from Flagstaff, Arizona, is in her second year of living at Westown Green and has adjusted to Milwaukee’s climate.

“When we first visited up here we just really liked the city,” said Calnimptewa, who plays on the women’s basketball team and is studying animation. “The winter was really cold and I wasn’t really used to it, but it was all right.”

Aniya Bethea, who moved to Milwaukee from Tampa, Florida, said, “I am definitely not ready for the winter. But I’m looking forward to being in a different kind of environment. It’s a different kind of city. I’m loving it so far.”

Briana Green saw Milwaukee for the first time this August when she arrived from Newport, Arkansas, a small town near Little Rock. 

“I love this place,” said Green, who plays on the women’s basketball team and plans to study communications. “I went outside and walked around and it’s a beautiful place. I’m excited about starting.”

Wisconsin’s largest technical college and one of the most diverse two-year institutions in the Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education in the region since 1912. Nearly 25,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community. The college offers more than 170 academic programs; and transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees with more than 40 four-year colleges and universities. Overwhelmingly, MATC graduates build careers and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.