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Saturday, May 18, 2024

New union designers finalize plans, unveil new additions

Members of the Wisconsin Union are approaching the final months of planning for the new south-campus union construction, which will commence after the demolition of Union South in January. 


Planning for construction of the new south union began over two years ago with web-based surveys where 17,000 community members offered input to the design committee. According to Mark Guthier, director of the Wisconsin Union, the committee consists of 15 university members including nine student representatives. 


The project accounts for 40 percent of the university's overall Master Plan budget. However, Student Union Initiative leader Dan Cornelius said the union project is relatively cheap in comparison to other UW System projects.  


Former union directors constructed the current Union South in 1971 with timely architecture, which directors are trying to do away with, according to Cornelius. 


We want [the exterior] to be timeless and enduring '¦ [We] want to be able to tell when the building was built, but don't want it to be tied to that era,"" said Paul Broadhead, assistant director for facilities management for the Wisconsin Union.  


Andrea Bill, a UW-Madison graduate student and member of the design committee, said the exterior of the building will attract visitors with breezeways and terraces.  


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""The new union is about creating multi-use spaces that catch the attention of the 35,000 cars that drive down Campus Drive every day but is also welcoming for pedestrians,"" Bill said.  


Outside features include a motor-transportation hub, a possible light-rail line and a station for grill pick-up. Orchard Street - which lies perpendicular to Union South's property - will also become a main resource for visitors of the new union. 


""One of our goals is to treat Orchard Street as a pedestrian mall with farmers markets, music festivals or other outdoor events,"" Bill said.  


According to Bill, the current Wendt Library deck will be restructured to provide space for the UW Marching Band during Badger Bash, which will take place at the current Union South for the last time Nov. 22. 


Response from environmentally friendly community members forced directors to make an effort to abide by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards. The system ranks sustainability efforts on a scale of 26 to 69. The union project received a 40, placing UW-Madison among the top sustainable universities in the nation.  


According to Cornelius, residents of the current Union South will move out after finals to make room for the demolition in January, and directors plan for the project to be complete by the spring of 2011.  

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