Courtesy of the Wisconsin Union

A climbing wall, a 350-seat theatre and an entertainment center will be a part of the new Union South, scheduled for completion in March 2011.

Wisconsin Union President Jeff Rolling, a University of Wisconsin student, said the new building will offer more space and be more “welcoming” than the current Union South.

“The new South Campus Union will be an urban center that hosts event spaces and other exciting functions that students have asked for,” Rolling said in a press conference Monday.

Located on the same location as the current Union South, the new facility will have new hotel facilities, underground parking, a large event space, a coffeehouse and several additional eateries.

Union Director Mark Guthier said the new Union will have an area of green space between the new building and the current Wendt Library.

“It will host additional green space, an attribute that is distinctly absent from that side of campus,” Guthier said.

The new Union South will also have its own version of Memorial Union’s Rathskeller.

“It may not be specifically German-style,” Guthier said. “But it will have the same character and identity, as well as host live music performances perhaps three to four nights a week.”

The area between the Computer Sciences building and Union South will be expanded into a pedestrian mall similar to Library Mall and the partially completed East Campus Mall.

“The idea here is to develop Orchard Street as a pedestrian mall that can facilitate programs such as a farmer’s market, music festivals, outdoor activities, arts fairs,” Guthier said.

The current Union South building will be closed after finals week this December. Demolition will begin in January and construction will follow.

The new Union South is expected to open by spring 2011 in order to host the National Science Olympiad in May 2011.

Several programs and offices will have to be relocated during the demolition and construction. The Photo ID office and Midnight Movies will be moved to Memorial Union. A computer lab, several computer kiosks, and office and classroom space will be moved to the old University Health Services building, which will soon relocate to University Square.

“We will also talk about putting some student orgs over [in the old UHS building] if there’s interest,” said Union Assistant Director Paul Broadhead. “And we’ll have some recreational things, some pool tables and other things.”

Food service around campus will also be expanded to supplement the loss of several eateries in Union South. ICU Deli on Charter Street will be expanded and have its menu expanded and a new Panera Bread-style restaurant recently opened in Grainger Hall.

The Badger Bash celebration, which takes place on football game days, will be relocated to Engineering Mall during the construction and brought back to the green space between the new Union South and Wendt Library in 2011.

Since the fall of 2007, students have been paying $48 per semester as part of segregated fees for the project. At the start of the 2009-2010 school year, students will pay $96 in segregated fees for the next 30 years.