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Planning for the Next 50 Years

Students first asked us to consider a Master Plan for new recreational facilities in Spring 2012. With overcrowded and outdated buildings that do not serve campus demand and that are far behind the national standard for fitness space, the current facilities do not meet the needs of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In a March 2014 referendum to the student government ballot, students voted in favor of the Rec Sports Master Plan for new recreational facilities. A record-breaking 87% of students who voted demonstrated their support for the project, which includes new construction of two buildings (the SERF and Natatorium) and two outdoor fields (Near West and Near East).

UW-Madison is consistently ranked as one of the world’s leading academic and research institutions. New facilities will help extend our university’s world-class reputation from the classroom to the overall campus experience. We are not only creating larger spaces that will meet demand. We are creating opportunities for Badgers to PLAY HARD. GET FIT. LIVE WELL. so that they can be more effective students, professionals, and contributors to society. On, Wisconsin!

Natatorium Feasibility Study

During the referendum in 2014, students voted to replace the Natatorium after the SERF. To better understand the scope of the project, please click the button to read a feasibility study report created in collaboration with RDG.

Architect Final Report

We collaborated with Milwaukee-based architecture firm Kahler Slater to create a comprehensive evaluation of the campus’s current recreational facilities and their ability to serve the university’s health and wellness needs. This report summarizes the findings of the feasibility study performed by Kahler Slater and the recommendations that were presented to the University in Spring 2014.


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"Education isn't just about the mind. It's about figuring out how to live one's life as an effective and productive person, and that means integrating both the mind and the body."

Chancellor Rebecca Blank on the value of campus recreation

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Check out the Master Plan blog for news articles, progress reports, design details, videos, answers to frequently asked questions, and more.

Support the Master Plan


Your contribution to the Rec Sports Master Plan for new recreational facilities reflects your commitment to improving the Wisconsin Experience for students, faculty/staff, and the greater Madison community.

The donation you make today will help provide more opportunities for students to stay active, balanced, and connected to campus. Thank you for your generous support and for your vision of an even better University of Wisconsin.