Master Plan

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 With overcrowded and outdated buildings that do not serve campus demand and that are far behind the national standard for fitness space, the current facilities do not meet the needs of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 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, and live well so they can be more effective students, professionals, and contributors to society. On, Wisconsin!

View the Architect’s Final Report

Master Plan Projects

NEAR WEST FIELDS

Directly west of the Natatorium, the Near West Fields were the first completed project of the Master Plan and our first synthetic turf field facility. They can accommodate a variety of sports and feature more economical and environmentally-conscious options for lighting and turf.

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Nicholas Recreation Center

NICHOLAS RECREATION CENTER

The Nicholas Recreation Center (Nick) is the first major building project of the Master Plan and will replace the Southeast Recreational Facility (SERF). Named in honor of Albert “Ab” Nicholas, his wife Nancy, and the Nicholas family, this facility will feature 8 full-size basketball courts, five multipurpose studios, an Olympic-length pool, 30,000 square feet of fitness space, and more.

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NATATORIUM

We have started the design process for the new Natatorium, which is expected to open in 2023. The current Natatorium is expected to close at the end of 2020. The above image is an architect’s rendering.

Near East Fields

NEAR EAST

Renovation of the Near East Fields is expected to follow the construction of the new Natatorium.

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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

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.