Rec Sports addresses students’ questions, feedback about Facilities Master Plan

Rec Sports Director John Horn presents concept images to BRR.
Rec Sports Director John Horn presents concept images to BRR.

by Alex Peirce, Coordinator of Marketing for Rec Sports

In the past two weeks, Rec Sports staff members have presented to several student groups on campus including the Associated Students of Madison, BBA Student Government, and Badgers for Recreational Reform. During these meetings, Rec Sports released several concept images and students had the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. These concept images are not concrete plans but rather design possibilities that have been developed as part of the feasibility study.

Rec Sports has heard students’ suggestions to decrease the scope of the proposed new Natatorium. In response, Rec Sports has requested a redesign for this portion of the project in order to be able to provide students with two proposals for the new facility. Many students have also raised questions about project phasing and funding. The Division addresses these issues and other reoccurring questions below.

If you would like to invite Rec Sports to an upcoming meeting, please email apeirce@recsports.wisc.edu with Facilities Master Plan in the subject line. 

FUNDING QUESTIONS

How much will the Facilities Master Plan cost students?

  • Rec Sports will have more detailed funding information before the end of the Fall semester, once the planning process is fully completed.
  • The cost to students will depend on the amount of funding Rec Sports receives from other sources including private donors, the state, program revenues, and corporate sponsors.
  • Rec Sports can provide rough estimates for total project costs based on similar projects at peer institutions (anywhere from $170 to $250 million for full- or partial- facility reconstruction projects).
  • With the recent consideration of decreasing the scope of the Natatorium project, the costs would be considerably less to students.

When will increases in segregated fees kick in?

  • Rec Sports’s intention is to increase segregated fees once the doors open to a new facility.
  • While this is not a guarantee, Rec Sports is attempting to keep fees down as much as possible until the facilities are open.

Is Athletics giving involved?

  • Athletics is engaged in the project and has been involved in conversations with our planning team throughout the process.

How much will the state pay?

  • UW-Madison officials will coordinate with the state in acquiring funding for the reconstruction of the Kinesiology (academic) portions of the Natatorium.

Has Rec Sports talked to private donors and/or corporate sponsors?

  • Rec Sports has been negotiating with several private donors (names currently unavailable due to anonymity requests) and corporate sponsors since the project commenced and is hopeful to have significant donations to help cover costs for the project.
  • Rec Sports will consider naming rights for some or all of the facilities in order to build the best facilities possible and keep segregated fees to a minimum.

How do projected revenue generation, additional memberships, events, etc. affect the funding structure of the project?

  • With the increase in facility space, Rec Sports fully intends on growing its membership and ability to generate additional revenue to help reduce the demand of segregated fees.
  • Additional space would allow for rentals, events, and programs to add to the revenue generated by the Division.
  • More detail about revenue generation will be released as the Master Plan becomes more solidified. Total space will be a factor in this projection and Rec Sports will base its forecasts on increase in square footage.

PHASING QUESTIONS

Which facility will be updated first?

  • The two major portions of the project are the SERF and NAT.  Rec Sports will ensure that one of the facilities will be open while the other undergoes construction.
  • As of now, the SERF is slated first in order to ensure that the most utilized facility is reopened as soon as possible. This also gives the campus more time to secure state funding for the Natatorium portion of the project.
  • Rec Sports is currently examining all options for students while the SERF is closed, including relocating some of the fitness equipment to other locations on the southeast side of campus to accommodate students living in that area.
  • Nielsen Tennis Stadium could be renovated at any point during the 2015-2017 or 2017-2019 capital project timeline depending upon private funding. NTS would then have the additional fitness space to help accommodate displaced users at the SERF or Natatorium.
  • Rec Sports has allowed for flexibility on the timeline for the outdoor fields projects and would target summer months for those projects when the majority of students are not on campus.

How long will the Facilities Master Plan take in total?

  • The entire Faciliites Master Plan is projected to be completed by 2021.
  • If the referendum passes, the plan must then be approved by the Board of Regents, the State, and the Capital Project team.
  • Design processes for the Natatorium and SERF are expected to take approximately one year per facility, and construction would take approximately two years until doors open. Projects will overlap (design on one while the other is being built).
  • Rec Sports will release a detailed timeline once the planning phases are completed.

What’s the benefit to me if I live next to the SERF and it goes first?

  • Students would have access to the Nielsen Tennis Stadium, Natatorium, and the Shell while the SERF is under construction.
  • Rec Sports is looking at options to accommodate students living in the southeast neighborhood, including sectioning off the Shell basketball courts for strength/cardio equipment and possibly moving equipment into other locations on that side of campus.
  • Rec Sports is exploring all options to address the displacement of students while the SERF is under construction, recognizing that students must also be willing to be flexible during certain phases of the project.

How long would the entire project take?

  • The entire master plan is projected to be completed by 2021.

I am a Shell user. How does the Facilities Master Plan affect me?

  • The facility requires millions of dollars in maintenance and infrastructure repairs. Rec Sports will continue to set aside funds for upgrades and management of the Shell as long as it belongs to the Division.

SUSTAINABILITY QUESTIONS

Rec Sports is committed to sustainability and environmentally-friendly facilities and practices. This commitment will be reflected in the planning for new facilities, including both indoor and outdoor projects:

  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards
  • Energy savings including electricity and plumbing features
  • Eco-friendly turf
  • Green roofs
  • Solar panels
  • An increase in the amount of Green fitness equipment (EcoFit machines already installed at the SERF)
  • Rec Sports is committed to the environment and sustainability in all aspects of the projects, including both indoor and outdoor facilities.

If you would like to invite Rec Sports to an upcoming meeting, please email apeirce@recsports.wisc.edu with Facilities Master Plan in the subject line. 

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4 thoughts on “Rec Sports addresses students’ questions, feedback about Facilities Master Plan

  1. Is Athletics giving involved?

    Athletics is engaged in the project and has been involved in conversations with our planning team throughout the process.

    This is not a clear answer? Why is there not a surcharge on Athletic Tickets to help rebuild the Rec Sports Facilities. When the Athletic Department was in financial trouble in the early 1990’s the chancellor imposed a surcharge on Parking and a special Seg Fee Surcharge.

    The Athletic Department should agree to contribute early in this process.

    1. Thanks for your comment, @SaveTheTerrace. Unfortunately we do not have a more clear answer for you at this time except to say that Athletics is one of the campus partners that we are working with – and will continue to include – in our discussions of the Master Plan.

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