The SERF Awakens: Planning Begins for New Facility

A long time ago… in a galaxy far, far away that looked a lot like the UW-Madison campus… students voted to support the construction of new recreational facilities.

It’s go time.

Well folks, the time has come. Planning has finally begun for the new rec facility on the southeast side of campus (aka the SERF). Architectural firms HOK (national) and Workshop Architects (state) have been selected to design and manage the project.

Have we seen their work?


We certainly hope so. Workshop Architects worked on Union South right here on campus. The Milwaukee-based firm has also been involved in a large number of projects throughout the state and country, including at most UW-System schools.

HOK_logo_pms179HOK has designed impressive recreational facilities at Auburn, LSU, Utah State, and Arizona State, to name a few. The team assigned to our project is all about fitness, sustainability, and building something that is totally unique to this campus and to Madison.

Our meetings with the architects have been lively, inspiring, and extremely exciting as we look forward to what could will be.

So when you say “planning”…

We mean planning. No design yet.

Over the past month, our staff and student representatives have met with the architects to discuss “big ideas” such as, “what should the space feel like when you walk in?” and “what are the challenges of our current facility?” and “what are some of the biggest trends on campus and in recreation?”. These conversations have been broad, but these concepts are important so that we can design the best facility possible.

We’ve discussed these concepts for the following areas:

  • Fitness and Wellness
  • Intramural Sports
  • Open Rec
  • Pool (for recreational and athletic use)
  • Sport Clubs
  • Administration (not so interesting to anyone without offices here)

I saw images of the new facility two years ago.

Slow down, Felicia. The images we shared during the referendum were renderings created by a different architecture firm to show what the new facilities could look like. After the project was officially approved by the State, firms had to go through an intense bidding and proposal process to get the gig. Over the next few months, you’ll start seeing new images of what the facility will actually look like. Buckle up.

Got it. Now what?

If you’re a current UW-Madison student or Rec Sports member with an interest in being more involved in the SERF planning process, consider joining our Think Big member panel. Think of it as joining the Rebel Alliance and creating a new Republic of fitness and recreation at UW-Madison.

We’ll also provide regular updates and ask for feedback right here on the blog and on our social media channels. Keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds for updates and ways to get involved in the process.

2 Replies to “The SERF Awakens: Planning Begins for New Facility”

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