Updates on facilities and summer operations

Photo of the Natatorium front entrance

As other gyms around Madison start to reopen, we know you’re anxious to return to our facilities. We get it – we’re just as eager to welcome you back. 

Unfortunately, we aren’t able to announce a reopening date yet. As we await direction from campus about summer operations, our staff is working diligently to research, benchmark, and prepare for a safe and appropriate return to campus for our members and staff. 

In the meantime, we do have important facility updates to share:

  • Last month, we officially closed and removed all equipment from Ogg Hall Fitness Center. We are grateful to University Housing for allowing us to use this space while the Nicholas Recreation Center is under construction. 
  • According to the construction project timeline, the Natatorium is expected to close in mid-August to prepare for demolition. Given the uncertainty of summer operations on campus and the budget needed to prepare the space to meet safety and health standards outlined by the state, the Natatorium will not reopen for any Rec Well programs, activities, or services before demolition begins. Visit our website here to see renderings and learn more about plans for the new Natatorium. (Spoiler alert: it’s beautiful! 😍)
  • While the Natatorium is closed, we’ve partnered with University Housing to offer a satellite fitness facility in Holt Commons, which is expected to open for students this fall.
  • At the Nicholas Recreation Center, we are working to complete construction, commissioning, move-in, and staff training as we wait for direction from campus about summer operations. When we have an opening date for the Nick, we will share it widely.

We expect these changes will leave you with questions. Below are a few we’ve anticipated, but if you have others, please reach out to us at hello@recwell.wisc.edu

I have things in my locker at the Nat. How can I retrieve them?
We plan to offer pick-up times during the week of August 3-7 at the Natatorium (with proper  measures in place to protect the health and safety of our members and staff). Items remaining in lockers after that week will be bagged and transported for pick-up at another location on campus. More details will be emailed to all members by August 1. If you are leaving campus before August, please email hello@recwell.wisc.edu to make special accommodations to retrieve your items.

How does this affect my membership?
When we’re able to reopen, your membership will still be active at the Shell and Nielsen Tennis Stadium. In addition, we’ll automatically extend the end date of your membership to make up for the number of days our facilities have been closed due to COVID-19. 

When the Nicholas Recreation Center opens, there will be a trial period during which all existing members will have access to the Nick. This information will be communicated when the opening date is announced. After that trial period, you’ll have an option to upgrade your membership to include access to the Nick. 

If you’re considering a refund due to the news of the Nat closing, please wait for further information about refund requests, which will be sent when our staff is able to return to campus.

The Nat is an iconic facility with a rich history. Are there any plans for saying goodbye to it?
Yes! Later this summer, we’ll be announcing a campaign to properly celebrate, share memories, and say farewell to the Natatorium. Stay tuned.

How can I support my wellbeing right now?
We encourage you to try one of our virtual programs happening this summer, including free group fitness classes, free Esports leagues, Wellbeing Wednesdays on Instagram Live, and virtual personal training. We also have a variety of resources on our YouTube channel and blog

Thank you for your patience and understanding during the past few months. And thank you for continuing to show up for yourself and this community through our virtual offerings. We look forward to the day we can safely welcome to you back into our spaces.