University Health Services and the Associated Students of Madison are collaborating to construct a new building on campus. The building will replace UHS’s two current facilities and serve as a home for many UW-Madison student organizations and activities.
Although discussions about the facility began in 1999, ASM only recently received permission to begin the building’s plans. The estimated cost is over $2 million.
ASM Chair Jessica Miller said she is enthusiastic about the project and that ASM will hold a public forum for interested students in mid-October.
“Right now we’re in the beginning planning stages,” Miller said.
Both ASM and UHS feel the current facilities are insufficient.
“There is a very big need for UHS in general to have a new building,” UHS Executive Director Kathy Poi said. “Our main clinical facility is not accessible to students, and the very fact that our program is split into two buildings is another problem.”
According to UHS, the building at 1552 University Ave. has very poor temperature control and limited space to meet its needs. The fourth floor cannot be used for patient care because of extreme temperatures, and the building’s location is a long walk for most of the student population.
“Unless you happen to be on the north side of University Avenue, west of where we are, you have to cross four lanes of traffic,” Poi said. “We aren’t on the campus bus line, and we’re not anywhere near the main population of the campus.”
The UHS Counseling and Consultation services building, 905 University Ave., which was originally intended as a bank, faces some of the same struggles as the other facility.
ASM held a meeting Sept. 9 to let some of the 600-plus registered student organizations voice their needs and desires regarding the new facility.
Besides Memorial Union and Union South, there is currently no facility on campus for student organizations and activities to meet on a regular basis. Most student groups meet in temporarily assigned rooms.
“Student activities on campus don’t have consistent facilities to organize, hold meetings and promote a sense of campus community,” Miller said.
Miller stressed the importance of student organizations coming together to create a sense of community, as well as an opportunity for collaboration, cooperation and communication.
“It is important for coalition-building and resource-sharing,” she said.
“Organizations will be able to work together because they’re in close proximity, and they will get a lot more traffic,” she said. “UHS [also] wants more students to come visit them, and with this new building, there will be hundreds of students walking through their halls every day.”
The UHS/SAC building would provide more office space, meeting space and workspace to accommodate various organizations’ needs.
The facility’s proposed location is across from the Peterson Building, but according to ASM and UHS this could easily change.
Unfortunately, most students currently enrolled at UW will have graduated by the time the UHS/SAC is completed. The next step in the process is having funding appropriated by the state budget, but they do not anticipate any problems.
“If everything goes as planned, the building would start around 2004,” Miller said.
Planners are aiming to open the facility’s doors to students and staff by 2006.