As students make their way to the gym to fulfill New Year’s resolutions, the Southeast Recreational Facility will be fulfilling its own through a series of renovations.
University of Wisconsin staff and architecture team met at a neighborhood open house Thursday to present information on the upcoming project.
Internal and external changes will allow UW students to have increased access to equipment and an improved visual experience while using the facility, John Horn, director of UW Recreational Sports, said.
The new SERF building will be similar in scope to the current building. The exception, Horn said, is an expansion into the current parking lot 87.
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The plan will also move the bus stop west of its current location to improve the pedestrian traffic flow, Horn said. In addition, the new SERF will have a lobby area which will allow students and community members who use the building to wait inside for a gym partner or a program to start, he added.
“I don’t know if anybody used the SERF this week between the hours of about 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., but if you go over there right now, I can probably bet that there is a line of people standing outside in the rain right now,” Horn said. “This lobby will eliminate that from ever happening again.”
Another way pedestrian traffic will be improved is by the addition of a second entrance to the pool and diving well area, Horn said. With this second entrance, UW will be able to host athletic events in the swimming and diving areas without interfering with students’ use of the SERF, he added.
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The plan for the new SERF building will also double the current 4,500 square feet of strength training area, Horn said. The total fitness space will increase by four times.
“Every single one of the 96 pieces of equipment are being used — there’s 20 people in the back of the room waiting for that first person to jump off the piece to beat them to the spot,” Horn said. “With this facility, we will not have that problem any longer.”
UW staff will be presenting the new SERF plan at several committee meetings through January and February. There are no solid dates set for start construction, but Horn said they hope to start in October of this year.
“I presented to [Associated Students of Madison] student council before the December break and when I brought this up, there were audible gasps,” Horn said. “I think that we’re achieving what we want to achieve.”