The Division of Recreational Sports (“Rec Sports”) recently unveiled a facilities master plan that would encompass approximately $200 million in much-needed Rec Sports-related facilities improvements.
The Rec Sports master plan initially included a 50-meter competition swimming pool and diving well. Following through on that option was contingent upon students funding at least $13 million of the facility, combined with additional sources committing to funding the other half of what is currently estimated to be at least a $26 million cost.
At this point, no additional funding has become available. As a result, Rec Sports is moving forward with an option for the SERF plan that it feels students will support in a Spring Referendum. The plan will still address the space demands of Rec Sports’ 1.7 million annual uses, including 83 percent of the student body.
A unique arrangement allows the UW swimming teams to use the Natatorium for a competition pool and the SERF for practice. As part of the master plan process, the Natatorium pool will be taken offline in 2019.
UW Athletics is not in a position to be able to fund the other half of a competition pool component at the SERF.
The department is just about to complete the fourth of four major facility projects at a cost of approximately $125 million. Included in these projects are a new swimming locker room, lounge space and support facilities as well as the Student-Athlete Performance Center that will benefit all UW-Madison student-athletes, including swimmers.
The athletic department supports its swimming and diving student-athletes just like it supports its other 21 sports with high level academic, sports medicine, strength and conditioning and nutritional staff.
Athletics has also made clear its commitment to the swimming and diving programs by making a financial commitment to the maintenance and substantial upgrade of the pool that currently exists at the SERF.
The department already is committed to the maintenance of a substantial number of existing facilities but cannot increase its indebtedness by financially committing to this project.