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Friday, May 17, 2024
UW rec. facilities plan $60 mil. renovations

serf: UW-Madison students who use the weight room at the SERF often have to wait to use the free weights and machines.

UW rec. facilities plan $60 mil. renovations

The SERF and Natatorium are in need of renovation, according to the UW Division of Recreational Sports.  

The Recreational Sports Board presented its annual report at a Faculty Senate meeting Monday, citing the indoor facilities as outdated and too small to meet demand."" 


According to Dale Carruthers, director of Rec Sports, the SERF was last renovated in 2002 with the addition of the west wing, which includes the current cardio room and dance studio. However, the Nat - built in 1963 - is in need of major renovation. 


""We are working on a master plan right now that will go well into 2015 or 2017, which will upgrade both the Nat and the SERF,"" Carruthers said in an interview.  


In addition to recreation space, the Nat houses UW-Madison's kinesiology department. The gym, pool, cardio and weight room comprise the recreational side of the facility, which would be renovated and expanded if passed through a student referendum. 


Rec Sports conducted a number of student assessments between 2002 and 2005 that showed a strong discontent with the indoor recreation facilities on campus, according to Carruthers.  


As a result, leaders from Rec Sports collaborated with Kahler Slater Architects of Milwaukee to determine a renovation cost of $60 million. Carruthers said if approved, the project would cost each student $60 extra per semester. He did not specify how long students might pay for the improvements. 

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""In the end, what we were hoping to do is have a facility the size of the existing SERF '¦ so [the Nat renovation] would be major,"" he said.  


Rec Sports also wants to update portions of the SERF because the condition of the locker rooms has dwindled over time. According to Carruthers, the process will start with the replacement of all lockers in both men's and women's locker rooms at the end of May. 


Terry Gawlik, associate director of athletics, said the UW-Madison men's and women's swimming and diving teams are negatively affected by the pool facilities in both the Nat and the SERF. 


""[They] practice simultaneously because of pool limitations,"" Gawlik said. ""They mostly practice at the SERF, but divers have to travel once a week to a facility in Milwaukee to practice on the higher platforms."" 


Carruthers said he does not think either facility is in the right shape to train Division I athletes. 

""The Nat is not a 50-meter pool but there is seating there '¦ there is a 50-meter pool at the SERF with no seating, so you have two pools on campus and neither one are good for athletic competition,"" he said. 


According to Gawlik, men's and women's swimming and diving coach Eric Hansen considered other job offers in 2006, but signed an agreement to stay at UW-Madison with a clause built into his contract for a ""substantially renovated or new facility by June 30, 2010.""  


Officials said the first part of the plan will come out in the spring of 2009, but any renovations to the facilities will need to be approved through the Associated Students of Madison. 

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