Milwaukee Local 494 members provided the power to an alternative care facility at the state fairgrounds.
     Photo credit: Local 494

The Wisconsin State Fair Park outside Milwaukee has been converted into an alternative care facility to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic and Local 494 members were there to power it.

The alternative care facility is located in West Allis, a suburb of Milwaukee.
Photo credit: Local 494

“This alternative care facility will be a critical addition to the southeastern region of our state and will be essential to continuing to ensure our healthcare systems are not overwhelmed,” said Gov. Tony Evers to local news station CBS 58.

Working with the Army Corps of Engineers and signatory Staff Electric, about 35 to 40 members wired the 700-bed facility, which included temporary restrooms, dressing rooms and showers in one of the fairground’s exhibition halls.

According to officials, the park grounds have a "natural perimeter," various large venues and other accommodations that make it a good candidate for the facility. It will treat COVID-19 patients without acute symptoms to avoid overwhelming hospitals as the number of cases continues to increase.

Work began on the project in the beginning of April and was completed on April 23, with 100% union labor.

"I am extremely proud of our members and Staff Electric who stepped up in a time of need to help provide Milwaukee with a facility critical to saving lives and ending the pandemic,” said Local 494 Business Manager Dean Warsh.

Members have also been providing services to different hospitals including essential Wi-Fi, data connections and temporary power for testing tents. They are also helping out at area grocery stores like Meijer, Costco and Pick N Save by doing maintenance work after hours.

The Badger State held its primary on April 7 and elected two Local 494 members to local office, Sheboygan County Supervisor Curt Brauer and City of Oconomowoc Alder-elect John T. Zapfel.

“We are proud of our work to help elect these fantastic candidates,” Warsh said in a statement. “IBEW Local 494 endorsed candidates who strongly support working families, job creation, and using our tax dollars to make investments in our communities.”