How did the Master Plan pass?
On March 3-5, 2014 , all currently enrolled UW-Madison students had the opportunity to vote on the Rec Sports Master Plan. The Master Plan passed with a final victory margin of  12,070-1,914. This was the highest margins of victory on a referendum in school and, quite likely national, history.

What facilities did students vote on?
Students voted to support new and improved facilities at the SERF, Natatorium, Near East, and Near West Fields. Rec Sports is seeking private funding for the Nielsen Tennis Stadium and University Bay projects.

When will everything be done?


Where can I work out while the facilities are under construction?
Rec Sports has worked directly with Campus Facility Planning & Management and the Space Utilization Office to identify alternative workout locations while facilities are under construction. During the SERF construction (2017-2019), students and Rec Sports members will have access to 20,000 square feet of fitness space (cardio, strength, and free weights) at Ogg Residence Hall. Group-X classes will be moved to Gordon Dining & Event Center. During the Natatorium construction (2019-2021), fitness space will be available at Frank Holt Center and Eagle Heights Community Center, in addition to the new SERF.

How much does it cost?
$236 million (SERF, Natatorium, Near East, and Near West Fields). Rec Sports is seeking private funding for the Nielsen Tennis Stadium and University Bay facilities – students will not vote on these projects.

When will seg fees increase?
Due to the amount of alternative funding already committed to the Master Plan, Rec Sports feels it is in a good position to minimize increases in segregated fees until a new facility opens.

How much will students pay?
Segregated fees will be kept below the Big Ten average for campus recreation fees, at the request of UW-Madison students. Seg fees will increase by no more than $108 per semester. Please note that the segregated fees shown here are those allocated for campus recreation. A full breakdown of UW-Madison segregated fees can be found on the Registrar website. Student Fees

What other funding sources are available?
Rec Sports has reached out to additional funding sources, including the UW Foundation, Athletics, and the State in order to offset students’ segregated fees. These sources will account for a minimum of 43% of the total project cost, keeping students’ contributions less than 60% as requested. This funding model is consistent with student fee support in the overall Rec Sports budget. Should additional funding become available, these gifts and donations will continue to lessen the students’ contribution. funding_graph

What is UW Athletics’ contribution to the plan?
Click here for more information.

Update 5/28/2014: The UW Athletics Department will make a substantial contribution to help fund a new competition pool at the SERF.

Why should I support the plan if I’m graduating before the facilities would be open?
There are many reasons to support the Master Plan even if you aren’t going to be a student when new facilities will open. (1) Alumni will be able to purchase Rec Sports memberships at the new facilities. (2) Extensive repairs are required to maintain the existing facilities, without any increase in space or programs. (3) Your decision impacts the experience of future Badgers. (4) This is a unique opportunity for you to leave a lasting legacy on campus.

What are the plans for the Shell?
At this time, the future of the Shell is undetermined. There are no plans for an immediate transfer of the Shell from Rec Sports to any other campus partner. However, the Master Plan does account for any space that would be “lost” if a transfer should occur. The Master Plan would include community and alumni memberships at the new facilities, so as not to lose the connection to the community (in fact, Rec Sports hopes to only see that relationship grow with the expansion of facilities on campus). Should plans for a Shell transfer develop in the future, this will be clearly communicated to campus and community members.

Update 5/28/14: The Shell will remain under the management of Rec Sports for the foreseeable future.

I don’t see ____  in the design concepts. Why not?
Don’t see something that interests you in the plans? All images are conceptual — not finalized — designs. A formal design process for each facility will follow the timeline shown above. Rec Sports welcomes your ideas and suggestions throughout the planning process.

What happens if the Master Plan does not pass the referendum?
Students’ segregated fees are conservatively estimated to increase to a minimum of $83.56 per semester. This funding is necessary to return the facilities to the 1964 standards (Natatorium) and 1983 standards (SERF). Additional increases in segregated fees will be required to meet modern standards, address sustainability features, and fund unforeseen maintenance and repairs. Students can expect to see an immediate increase in their fees, without seeing any increase in the amount of recreational space or programs available on campus.

Why now?

  • In the Spring of 2013, the UW-Madison Student Services Finance Committee proposed and approved additional funding for Rec Sports to examine/update a Facilities Master Plan
  • Rec Sports facilities have exceeded their estimated lifespans
  • Extensive repairs needed to maintain existing facilities
  • At least 50% of facility reservation requests by registered student organizations, university departments, and community organizations are denied due to lack of space
  • Participants have to wait to use cardio equipment during peak hours
  • Technological advances render existing equipment obsolete

How does Rec Sports currently impact the UW-Madison experience?

  • Manages four facilities — the SERF, Natatorium, Camp Randall Sports Center (Shell), and Nielsen Tennis Stadium — all of which are 30-50 years old
  • Hosted over 1.7 million participations in 2012-2013
  • 83% of Wisconsin students participated at Rec Sports facilities or in Rec Sports programs in 2012-2013
  • Offers a wide variety of programs including Intramural Sports, Group-X fitness classes, Sport Clubs, personal training, and swim/tennis/skate lessons
  • Employs more than 500 students each year, teaching transferable skills to prepare students for life after college
  • Returns nearly half of the students’ segregated fees — about $1 million — to the students via wages
  • Participation in recreational sports is a key determinant of satisfaction and success in college (Kerr & Downs 2002)



22 thoughts on “FAQs

    1. Hi, Molly! At this time, we do not know the exact closure date for the SERF. There are a few more steps in the process to complete before we will know the date. Once we do, we will be sure to share the information widely. Please make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay connected!

  1. As of September 2014, it sounds like you have a solid plan for involving students going forward as the project progress.

    Since other campus constituent groups will contribute to the project through user fees, could you please share your plans for involving and getting input from us as well (faculty, staff, alumni, etc.). Our opinions count too!!

    Thank you!

    1. Great question! And we apologize for the delayed response. We will certainly be opening up discussion to all of our members through surveys, possible interest groups, and open forums, to name a few. We will announce these opportunities as they become available on our website, blog, social media, member emails, and within our facilities. We hope this answers your question!

    1. Great question, Jack, and we apologize for the delayed response. Summer session seg fees are based on a Part-Time Student fee breakdown. Students taking less than 12 hours are allocated fees based on a portion of the total amount, and this number is figured by the Office of the Registrar. Students taking 3 credit hours would be charged a less amount than students taking 10 credit hours, for example. Likewise, only students who are enrolled in a full 12 hours (and therefore considered Full-Time Students) would be assessed the full segregated fee amount. Because these fees are figured outside of our offices, we cannot at this time predict what summer session seg fees will be but we hope this at least provides some useful information to you. Let us know if you have additional questions, and we will do our best to at least connect you with the folks with the answers! 🙂

  2. Very informative site! I’m excited to see new facilities for Occupational Therapy included in the plan. We currently have classes in the Medical Science Center (the former UW Hospital located on University Ave), which is quite outdated and not very accessible to the guests with disabilities who help with our program. New facilities would be a great asset to the university!

    1. Thanks for the positive feedback, Katie. Just a reminder that voting begins at 8am on Monday March 3. You will receive an email from ASM or you can visit http://www.asm.uwsc.wisc.edu to make your voice heard. Remember that every vote counts!

  3. While I am intrigued by these plans I am curious to know how long Rec Sports has been looking to acquire the necessary funds. 43% is a decent amount; however, I wonder if more funds could be acquired if more time was given to seek them out. Is there really no other place to go besides the students’ pockets for the remaining 57%?

    1. The 43% is a minimum. Additional funding could continue to come in if the referendum passes, which would continue to decrease the contribution of students towards the plan. In no way is this funding model considered the final distribution of funding, but it is a starting point. Students will not be asked to fund more than 57%.

  4. Should the plan go through, what happens between now and 2017 to the things that need immediate repairs? Many of these things cannot be held off an additional three years (i.e. water buckets on the track at SERF), so will there still be an increase in seg. fees regardless?

    1. Alisa, as you may have read in the recent news articles, the SSFC approved a $6 in fees for next year. This $6 will be used toward repairs that are immediately needed, such as leaking roofs (which lead to the water buckets on the SERF track). This $6 is also considered a “credit” towards the $108 maximum increase in students’ segregated fees. In other words, after 2014-2015, the increase would be $102 for new facilities. If the plan goes through, Rec Sports will work with campus Facility Planning & Management to determine the priority repairs and maintenance projects and continue to “patch” things up around the facilities until new construction begins. If the plan does not go through, seg fees will continue to increase at a significant rate to pay for other bigger projects related to maintaining the current facilities, but the difference will be that there will not be any increase in space. Does this all make sense? Please let us know if we can clarify anything else for you.

      1. Hi, I feel that the breakdown in how much seg fees will increase per year is still a little unclear for me. On this graph it seems like between now and the summer of 2016 seg fees will go up a total of $12 ($6 in 2014-2015 and $8 in 2016-2017) per person:

        where the max seg fee per person increase is $108 and the $12 increase counts as credit towards the total $108. The total $108 per person would only be paid by students still at the university after 2021. Am I understanding this correctly?

        In the emails that were sent out it says that the maximum seg fees would be $144 which would be the amount we pay for rec now + the new $108. This total $144 would only be paid in 2021 or after. Is this correct?

      2. Rothem, we apologize for any confusion. SSFC unanimously approved a $6 increse in seg fees for 2014-2015 to fund immediate projects required to maintain existing facilities. That increase will occur whether or not the referendum passes. This $6 is also figured in to the $108 total increase for the Master Plan (so after 2014-2015, seg fees would increase by a maximum of $102 to fund the new facilities). Students who are on campus in 2016-2017 would experience a second increase in fees of $8. This is also figured in to the $108 total increase for the Master Plan (so after 2016-2017, seg fees would increase by a maximum of $94). You are correct in saying that only students who are on campus in 2021 would pay the full $144.78 in seg fees for campus recreation. Please let us know if this makes sense or if you would like further clarification.

      3. Hi,

        I’d like to clarify. You said that after 2016-2016 seg fees would increase by a max of $94. Do you mean 2019-2020 as it says on the cashflow timeline? Thank you for your timely response.

      4. Oops! Thanks for catching that, Rothem. We have corrected our previous comment to read “after 2016-2017 seg fees would increase by a max of $94”.

        Here’s the math:
        $108 (total increase) – $6 (2014-2015 increase) – $8 (2016-2017 increase) = $94

        Does that make sense? Thanks again for catching that!

  5. Can you please specify exactly how much seg fees will increase if we don’t pass the plan? I see that you specify a minimum of 84 dollars per semester, but what is the maximum? And how will it change year-to-year?

    1. Laurie, at this point we do not have a maximum as it is hard to predict future projects to maintain and repair 30- and 50-year old facilities. We can say that seg fees would reach a minimum of $84 in the next five years. This is a conservative estimate that was given to us by campus Facility Planning and Management to return the facilities to 1964 standards (Natatorium) and 1983 standards (SERF) and to address immediate programmatic needs such as new lockers, new wood flooring in our basketball courts, equipment, etc. Additional funding would be required to bring the facilities up to modern standards. One of the reasons these numbers are difficult to predict is the inflation of repair/material costs. Students are really being asked to determine where they think seg fee money is most responsibly spent.

  6. Great site! I like the ideas for a new facility, especially anything that can give more options for running.

    Can you please provide/send the data you used to calculate the Big 10 average fee? I’ve looked at the websites for these schools, and can’t get the numbers to average out to $145. (The largest such fee I can find is actually $143.)

    1. Thank you for your feedback! We contacted directly the recreation programs at these schools to obtain their semester and annual student recreation fees which include operational fees and debt service fees. Several schools such as Michigan, Michigan State, and Northwestern have different funding models and were not included in these calculations. Semester fees range from $36.78 (at Wisconsin) to $212.48 at Nebraska.

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