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Sunday, December 03, 2023
Board of Regents

Council passes plans for Memorial Union changes

Members of the Union Council approved renovation plans for the Memorial Union Tuesday, which include reducing the size of the new student and theater lounge, as well as modifications to the building’s basement and first floor.

The group also approved controversial plans to remove a large oak tree next to the Union after an environmental impact assessment determined the tree to be unhealthy.

In order to move forward with the construction process, the design will be presented to the UW Board of Regents Thursday.

If the BOR approves the design, it will advance to a city committee for approval after which a state committee will make the final decision.

MUR Student Manager Colin Plunkett said if the board does not grant permission to begin construction, members would revisit renovation plans at a meeting in February, which would delay the project.

However, he said he is confident the BOR will approve the design.

Using student feedback from an October Associated Students of Madison referendum, the Memorial Union Reinvestment project agreed to adjust the proposed Union Theater lobby to better blend with the original building and to reduce its square footage by more than 35 percent.

Plunkett said most of the changes, although minimal, were to the Hoofers area on the basement level.

“The changes were really just moving around rooms here and there, kind of flip-flopping rooms and moving doors, to make things more functional,” he said.

MUR Project Manager Wendy von Below said the Hoofers’ boathouse will be more linear to better accommodate the length of the boats.

Storage areas for sails, alpine and mountaineer equipment have also been reallocated to different spaces within Hoofers’ area to increase efficiency, according to von Below.

“It is still storage for Hoofers, but in better spots,” she said.

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According to Hoofers President Angela Limbach, the group is pleased with the plan’s updates.

Plunkett said by minimizing how much of the building is shut down for construction at a time, construction would not disrupt the Union’s daily activities.

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