Rec Sports explains students’ voting options (YES vs. NO) for the Master Plan

On March 3-5, students will have the opportunity to vote online in the ASM Spring Elections on the Rec Sports Master Plan. The vote will be included as a referendum on the student government ballot. Students may choose whether they support the Rec Sports Master Plan (with a YES vote) for new facilities or not (with a NO vote*).  Both options imply an increase in students’ segregated fees.

Voting will open at 8am on March 3, and students will receive an email from ASM with the link to vote. Students may also find the link on the Rec Sports Facebook and Twitter accounts.

*Please note that choosing not to vote will result in the same increases as voting “no”.


  • Seg fee impact: maximum total of $144.78 per semester to build new facilities at the SERF and Natatorium and to improve Near East and Near West playfields
  • Cost-effective and energy-efficient facilities
  • Increased space and programming capabilities (click here for more details)
  • Seg fees estimated to increase as facilities open (2017, 2019, 2021)

Students’ segregated fees will be used to address the following projects:

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  • Seg fee impact: minimum of $83.56 per semester required to return facilities to original standards: 1964 (Natatorium) and 1983 (SERF)
  • Additional increases required to meet modern standards, add sustainability components, address cosmetics issues, and fund unforeseen repairs & maintenance
  • No added space or programming capabilities (click here for more details)
  • Seg fees will begin to increase immediately

Students’ segregated fees will be used to address the following projects:

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Students are encouraged to share the facts with their friends and classmates in order to educate campus about the Rec Sports Master Plan and voting options. Voting will remain open from March 3 at 8am until March 5 at 5pm. All students are encouraged to exercise their right to vote.


31 thoughts on “Rec Sports explains students’ voting options (YES vs. NO) for the Master Plan

  1. This web page explains the opposing point of view and it seems very damn convincing. Do you have any thoughts on this?

      1. Sophie, students are asked to pay for a maximum of 57% of the total cost because this is the proportion that students stated they would be willing to pay. Rec Sports attempted to engage as many students as possible in conversations about the Master Plan dating back to Spring 2013. Student government leaders and Rec Sports worked to develop a funding model that all parties felt would be accepted by a majority of students. Students requested that the funding proportion from seg fees remain consistent with the current Rec Sports funding model (seg fees account for approximately 58% of the overall Rec Sports budget). Rec Sports has successfully secured enough alternative funding in addition to seg fees so that students will not be asked to pay for more than 57% of the total costs. This amount could decrease if additional funding becomes available should the referendum pass. This funding model is a reflection of conversations between Rec Sports and students. The Division has given numerous presentations, including two open forums last fall, to give students a chance to weigh in on the Master Plan from a very early stage in the process. Invitations have been extended to nearly all student organizations on campus to have conversations about the Master Plan.

        The $55 million comes from the Chancellor and the UW Foundation.

        The schedule of seg fee increases can be seen in the graph included on the webpage.

        Students are being asked to vote for something that affects future students because the future students are not allowed to vote in ASM elections. The question being asked of students is to consider the most responsible use of future students’ money, as well as the experience future students should have as Badgers.

        Your voice can best be expressed by voting at

  2. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel state, “The proposal calls for student fees to cover 57% of the $223 million total cost. The state would cover $30 million; gifts would contribute $56 million and the athletics department would cover $7 million.” When the University of Wisconsin has a surplus that, as Politifact stated, “…$1 billion total surplus, $414 million came from tuition,” How can the university not afford to put forth a little extra cash in order to help the already exorbitantly high tuition costs when they have this large of a total surplus.

    1. Allison, perhaps your question would be better directed to a different department as the Division of Recreational Sports does not have control or influence over these funds.

  3. To be completely honest, I believe those opposing the plan need to take a look around and understand how out of date the facilities are. We should be proud to go to school here and having nice facilities are a part of that, especially considering how far behind we are compared to other Big 10 schools.

  4. Questions that come up with the people I work out with:
    Respectfully speaking, in my experience an election with little to no opposition and a massive amount of advertising in support for one side is worrisome, at best. Any comment on this?
    Would there be better options down the road? Such as a pool for competitive swimming, similar to the UIPUI or U of M? I understand it would cost at least another 200 million to build an actual pool, does the Athletic Department have any comment on not having a pool athletic facility up to par with the other top swimming teams in the country?
    Does the funding accumulate over time/expected to accumulate because of increased interest, so that we can have even larger and better facilities and better staffing for regular repairs? It is well known that repairs take months to happen in the currently smaller facility, how does Rec Sports expect to maintain facilities that are bigger?

    1. Clayton, thank you for your questions. You can believe us that we have heard plenty of support as well as criticism about the plan. As you can imagine, it is difficult to design a plan that pleases everyone. 🙂 Our hope by publishing this post is to be fair and honest about the voting options they have. We hope that by presenting students with both options, we are equipping them with enough information to make a decision that fits with their values and sense of responsibility to the University and to future Badgers.

      The pool issue is one that we have heard quite a bit. The option for a competitive pool at the SERF is still on the table, should funding become available from sources outside of students’ segregated fees. This option could be considered until formal design and construction begin. You can read more about this topic here:

      As time continues to pass, costs to repair/rebuild the facilities will only continue to increase because of unpredictable projects associated with the aging facilities as well as inflation.

      Please let us know if we are misunderstanding your question about the accumulation of funding. Rec Sports does not feel it appropriate to have students pay for facilities that they are unable to use. Because of the alternative funding secured for these projects (a minimum of 43%), Rec Sports estimates that increases in seg fees will not occur until each facility opens.

      Finally, Rec Sports has actually taken several initiatives to improve its maintenance efficiency and work order processing. Our efforts were recently featured on the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration page: We hope that our processes will continue to improve in order to better serve our participants regardless of the students’ voting results next week.

  5. It is absolutely arbitrary to impose extra fees on all students. Specially if you do not use the facilities. That’s my case. I am absolutely against any increment in fees. I wouldn’t pay a single cent if it were my choice.

    1. Pedro, we are asking students to educate themselves on the voting decisions — to not vote at all, to vote NO, or to vote YES. Please note that all three options have an impact on your segregated fees.

    2. The fact of the matter is these facilities provide the means to accomplish recommend amounts of daily and weekly exercise. If you aren’t using these facilities I question your commitment to preventative healthcare and public health in general.

  6. Thanks god I will graduate before next semester starts… so I won’t pay any single extra dollar on seg fees!!!! ha ha ha ha

    1. Our hope is that you will consider the experience of future students in making your voting decision. If you choose to vote YES, you are obviously voting for more cost-effective and energy-efficient facilities that meet the needs of a campus this size. If you choose to vote NO (or if you choose to not vote at all), you are voting for students to spend their money on immediate (and possibly ongoing) projects that address issues such as leaking roofs, air circulation, heating and cooling systems, etc. without showing any improvement in space and programming capabilities. The choice is obviously yours, and we are simply asking that you make a responsible, educated decision.

      1. I would love to have these facilities available at my University, the problem is, I won’t be around when they are available. Why should I pay for something that I will never get to use? This is not fair to impose these costs on current students. I am paying for college all by myself with a part-time job, an extra $100/semester means $100 less that can go to groceries and rent. I am not at all happy about this.

      2. Sarah — As you read in the post above, if the Master Plan passes the referendum, seg fees would not be increased until a new facility opens. This initial increase would take place in 2016-2017. We are not asking for students to fund facilities they cannot use. However if the referendum does not pass, seg fees will continue to increase to fund immediate repairs and maintenance projects. Additional increases will be required in order to expand space and bring the facilities up to 2014 standards. We are not insensitive to the impact that increased fees has on students. We have worked hard — and will continue to work — to find alternative funding that will offset the contributions made by students toward the new facilities. So far we have successfully secured a minimum of 43% of funding for the total project cost.

        Let us know if you have any other questions!

    2. Unlike all of the other BS this university makes you pay for, this is one opportunity where we know exactly what the increased cost will go towards and accomplish. As an alumni I wish I would have had the opportunity to vote for this.

  7. I heard that the proposed master plan involves closing the Shell for rec sports (though total capacity would be more than offset by increases in SERF and Nat). Is this true? If the new master plan does NOT pass will the Shell stay open?

    1. There is currently funding in the Rec Sports budget to help maintain that facility. There are no plans to close the Shell at this time.

  8. If the vote were to pass through, when would the construction and work begin on the projects and when would they be ready for use? Also, will there be other places to work out, shoot hoops, swim, and all the other available activities while the faculties are under remodel?

    1. Marcus, take a look at the project timeline: We are working with UW Housing and other campus partners to provide alternate workout locations during construction. For example, fitness equipment (cardio + strength + free weights) will be moved to Ogg Hall while the SERF is being built. Some programming will be moved to Gordon Commons as well. When the Natatorium is being rebuilt, the new SERF would be open but we will also have some program space at Holt Commons and Eagle Heights Community Center. Please note that seg fees will not rise until a new facility opens (the first increase would be in 2016-2017 when Near West Fields are finished).

      Answers to other questions can be found here:

    1. That is correct. Choosing not to vote or choosing to vote “NO” will increase seg fees immediately to pay for required repairs and maintenance needed to return the facilities to the standards at the time they were built (1964 standards for the Natatorium and 1983 standards for the SERF). There would have to be additional increases to expand the amount of space and programming capabilities. The alternative, voting YES, will increase seg fees as facilities open (summers 2016, 2019, and 2021) and will fund more sustainable facilities that are built to last 40-50 years at least.

      1. Alan is right. I am against segregated fees per se, and even more against them if the increments are for things I don’t care. And sports facilities is one of those things I do not care.

      2. Increase Seg Fees either way, That is sort of strange to me, I thought SUFAC committee regulates the fees collected not Rec Sports, not the Chancellor…

        Is the Chancellor going to override the student governance on this? Just like when the Chancellor imposed a surcharge to pay for the red ink of the Athletic Department?

      3. The SSFC is aware of the repairs and maintenance projects required at the existing facilities.

      4. When asked by student government to reexamine a Master Plan for new facilities, Rec Sports was asked to look at the SERF, Natatorium, and two playfields. That decision is reflected in the facilities students are voting on today through March 5. Please make your voice heard by voting at

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