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Monday, December 06, 2021

Renovation project revamps student spaces at Red Gym

Renovations to the UW-Madison Red Gym are complete after nine months of remodeling aimed to improve the meeting areas and student spaces for UW-Madison’s diversity centers and programs. 

Programs including the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center, the Posse Program, the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives and the First Wave Spoken Word and Hip Hop Arts Learning Community benefited from the $2 million remodeling initiative.

The Red Gym, officially known as the University of Wisconsin Armory and Gymnasium, was originally built in 1894 as a military training center and a student activity and athletic facility. Now, it is home to multicultural student organizations and the Morgridge Center for Public Service. 

“This project is part of our ongoing commitment to invest in spaces where students can feel at home and where they can find and build community,” says Gabe Javier, associate vice chancellor for student affairs in the area of inclusion and identity, in a UW press release.

The Gender and Sexuality Campus Center — located on the first floor — had outgrown its previous space. Now, the revamp has nearly doubled the size of the former center, including a lounge area, enclosed offices for full time staff, private meeting rooms, a large meeting space and a focal art installation by UW-Madison Alumna Jeanette Martín. This new space will continue to work to support LGBTQ+ students across campus. 

“This feels like further institutional investment in the students we see every day and further recognition of the impactful work we do,” said Assistant Dean Warren Scherer, the director of the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center in a UW press release. “While the center has been on this campus for 28 years, this invites us to look ahead at the next 28 years, and that excites me.”

The Latinx Cultural Center and the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Student Center, both created in 2018, now have permanent homes on the second floor of the Red Gym. The centers each have one full-time staff member and remodeled fully-furnished spaces. 

“Our identity centers provide crucial programming, resources and support for students whose needs have not otherwise been met by existing structures within our institution,” explained Claudia Guzmán, an assistant dean and director of the Multicultural Student Center in a UW press release. “These spaces are designed to foster identity development and community building in an effort to enhance the Wisconsin Experience for underrepresented students of color.”

The renovation project also allowed for upgrades to the area housing the Posse Program, the First Wave Program and the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives. The space, on the second floor,, now has more office and study spaces, conference rooms and new carpeting and furniture. 

The Wisconsin Alumni Association is hosting a virtual tour of the newly renovated Red Gym on October 22 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. as a part of this year’s Homecoming festivities. 

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