Students vote in support of Rec Sports Master Plan

Students voted in support of a Rec Sports Master Plan that will significantly upgrade campus’ heavily used recreational sports facilities. The ASM Spring Elections were held from March 3-5 with a final vote of 12,070-1,914, accounting for 34.4% of the total campus.  The project includes the construction of a new SERF, Natatorium and two outdoor playfields over the next eight years.

“We are incredibly appreciative of students’ efforts and involvement in this plan,” says John Horn, director of the Division of Recreational Sports at UW-Madison. “Students initiated this plan last year and have had an opportunity to be involved at every level as it moved forward. This vote indicates that students value the benefits of recreation on campus and envision a better UW-Madison experience for future Badgers.”

Construction could begin in 2016 with the Near West and Near East fields expected to be completed in 2016 and 2022, respectively. The new SERF could open in 2019 and new Natatorium in 2021.

Students’ segregated fees will increase by no more $108 per semester to fund the Master Plan and the first increase in fees is scheduled to occur once a new facility opens in 2016-2017.

The plan is estimated to cost approximately $223 million. In addition to student segregated fees, funding sources include a combination of gifts, the state, UW Athletics and Rec Sports program revenue.

“We pledge to continue engaging students and maintaining transparency as this project moves forward,” Horn says.

Rec Sports had more than 1.7 million visits by users in 2012-13, including 83 percent of the student body.

“Rec Sports would like to express our most sincere gratitude to all of the outstanding and passionate students and campus members that were involved with and supported this plan, in particular the Badgers for Recreational Reform,” Horn says. “They put in tireless work to present the best possible plan to the student body, and obviously their efforts have paid off. This truly is a plan for and by the students at UW-Madison.”

More information and updates about the Master Plan will be posted to this blog throughout the process.

4 Replies to “Students vote in support of Rec Sports Master Plan”

  1. I’m happy to see that this passed. What was the minimum “yes” vote total needed to make it pass? In all the marketing, it was stated that not voting is essentially a “no” vote, which is clearly not the case (otherwise the vote would have been 12,070 yes, 30something-thousand no). I’m betting that there weren’t a ton of people who skipped the vote because they thought it meant “no”, but it was misleading all the same, since one could definitely assume based on the promotional material that they’d get their “no” message across simply by not voting.

    1. Luke: a simple majority was needed to pass or fail the referendum. As you will note in the infographic, the chart is meant to show what each individual’s vote meant (or implied) — not what would necessarily result from choosing to vote that way (since an individual could vote YES but a majority of NO votes would obviously result in a failed referendum). Increases in seg fees were inevitable and the current facilities would have had to be repaired if students did not vote for change. Therefore, choosing not to vote essentially indicated that an individual was comfortable with no change and no new facilities, the same implication as a “no” vote. Our goal was to encourage students to vote one way or the other by encouraging them to truly take a stand for the kind of impact they wished to have on future Badgers.

      1. That’s rather misleading, then. Choosing not to vote can mean many more things than comfort with no change; it could also just as easily imply comfort with change (or total indifference, perhaps). Stating that it implies comfort with no change misleads students to what a non-vote actually means. Your statements (both in your infographic, as well as in emails and other parts of the website) do not necessarily encourage people to vote one way or the other, but rather implied that not voting was similar to voting no (which is a reasonable way for it to be interpreted).

        Perhaps this is inconsequential to the final vote result, but I really think that this was a big error in fairly presenting the question to students. Please re-evaluate how to fairly and objectively frame these questions and the meaning of responses for future endeavors.

      2. Luke, thanks for your feedback about our communication. In no way was this meant to be misleading and we hoped to have clarified this for those who had questions by responding here on the blog. We appreciate your support of the Master Plan and encourage you to continue engaging in conversations with us!

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