The design committee for the new Union South released the findings of a campuswide survey Tuesday, concerning what students, staff and faculty of the University of Wisconsin would like to see in the Union South when it is rebuilt.
The survey, distributed to all students and faculty on campus, was returned by almost 9,500 respondents, according to Rob White, one of the consultants hired to assess the survey results. He added about 5,000 of these were undergraduate students at the university.
White said the survey represents a “static snapshot” of the potential visitors for the new union and represented the highest volume of student input on record for union surveys.
The current Union South captures fewer than 15 percent of the potential market, which is considered low for a common-use, centralized facility such as Union South, White said.
Proposals by the consultants suggest a 50 percent increase of traffic for the new union, hopefully drawing in more of the students in the area for food service and retail purposes.
According to White, the most popular of the food service concepts was the food court concept, where convenient and quality food service were the most popular desires among survey takers. Coffeehouse and cafe proposals were also received positively by student respondents.
Monday night the Associated Students of Madison sent a proposal to the committee for a grocery store within the union that said the south campus area would “greatly benefit from additional grocery options.”
However, the survey consultants presented results that suggested a grocery located within Union South would not be as “financially strong” as previously suggested.
The survey was conducted soon after the announcement that a grocery store would be constructed within the new University Square complex.
“We want to avoid any duplication with University Square,” said David Christopher, a UW senior and the Wisconsin Union Initiative involvement coordinator.
Other designs investigated by the survey included the inclusion of a credit union, a convenience store and various recreation services like a bicycle center and a climbing wall.
Christopher said student involvement and input at this point in the design process is very important, adding the process has been “hectic and unbelievable.”
The architects involved are interested in and plan on incorporating what students want to see in the new union, according to Christopher.
A final conceptual design for the new Union South will be presented to the committee on May 5.