The University of Wisconsin-Madison announced the name of the new Letters and Science building as the Irving and Dorothy Levy Hall in a press conference at Bascom Hill on Wednesday, highlighting that it was made possible by a $20 million gift from Marv and Jeff Levy, both of whom are alumni of the university.
Levy Hall, which is named after the Levi brothers’ parents, will serve as the new College of Letters and Science hub, providing 1,800 seats in 19 state-of-the-art classrooms. The building will also help in replacing the aging Humanities Building’s classrooms, in part. This space is intended to provide an enhanced learning environment meet the needs of a growing university population.
“It will be a welcoming, collaborative environment that draws community to the events and shared learning opportunities,” said Eric Wilcots, Dean of the College of Letters and Science. “This will be the Wisconsin Idea in action.”
Construction of the facility will begin in 2023, and is expected to be completed in 2025.
The College of Letters and Science accounts for 65% of all undergraduate credit hours. The Mosse Humanities Building, which hosts many L&S classes, is one of the biggest academic and office buildings on campus, but it is rapidly deteriorating and unable to accommodate modern technology used in the classroom. Humanities is suffering from water damage, concrete deterioration and exposed, rusty reinforced steel. The deferred maintenance is conservatively estimated at $70 million, according to the university.
UW-Madison has just welcomed its largest undergraduate class to date of 8,465 first-year students, many of whom are taking courses in the humanities department to fulfill university requirements.
“You’ve got thousands of students going through that building regardless of where they’re headed. This will be transformational when you compare the existing situation to what is coming,” said Marv Levy. “The need was there. It wasn’t hard to decide to support this project.”
Levy Hall is being funded with $60 million by the state and $35 million in gifts. The Levy Family has committed to giving $20 million to get things started, while the remaining $15 million will be raised by other members of the campus community, including friends and alumni. The building will be located on the southwest corner of Park Street and West Johnson Street and will involve the demolition of residence halls Susan B. Davis Hall and Zoe Bayliss Co-op.
“We’ve reached a critical point,” said Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “Quite simply, the Humanities Building is no longer functional. Our students, our instructors and our outstanding departments in L&S deserve a facility worthy of a top-ranked university.”