Board of Regents committee approves next phase of Rec Sports Master Plan

The Board of Regents Capital Planning and Budget Committee approves the next phase of the Rec Sports Master Plan, renovations to Elizabeth Waters dining hall and Grainger Hall at its December meeting Thursday. 

Image By: Alayna Truttmann

A UW System Board of Regents committee approved funds for three UW-Madison campus projects Thursday.

The Capital Planning and Budget Committee reached a consensus on appropriating $87.5 million for proposed renovations to the Southeast Recreational Facility as part of the Recreational Sports Master Plan, as well as updates to Elizabeth Waters Residence Hall and the reconfiguration of two classrooms in Grainger Hall.

Students voted in March to approve the Rec Sports Master Plan, which includes renovations to the SERF, the Natatorium, the Near West and Near East playing fields.

According to Rec Sports director John Horn, who spoke at the meeting, the renovations have broad student support and are important for the school to keep pace with its peer institutions.

“Our mission is to enhance the UW experience,” Horn said. “The referendum makes it clear that students want this project to move forward.”

While the committee unanimously approved the SERF renovations, the use of segregated student fees were a point of contention for some committee members.

“We’re trying to promote affordability and segregated fees are included in  that,” Regent Anicka Purath said. “While I applaud you for being able to get this many students [to participate in the referendum] I don’t think it is fully representative of the campus.”

Rec Sports Master Plan Subcommittee Chair Devon Maier responded by emphasizing what he termed a historically strong turnout for the referendum.

“The referendum was a clear signal that the students want this project to take place,” Maier said.

The committee also approved a proposal to re-appropriate funds for the already approved refurbishment of Elizabeth Waters Residence Hall from another University Housing project, citing difficulties in finding a contractor.

In addition, the Regents cleared a proposal to convert two classrooms in Grainger Hall into flexible learning spaces at a cost of $495,000.

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