As the University of Wisconsin moves forward in their plans for a new Natatorium, representatives from Recreational Sports sought the Associated Students of Madison’s advice on how to engage students in the facility’s design process Wednesday night. 

Rec Sports, soon to be called University Recreation and Wellbeing, is engaging a variety of student organizations on campus to gauge what they want out of the “new Nat.”

Assistant Director of Wellbeing Abby Diehl said the department is also hosting poster projects, circulating e-surveys and planning upcoming listening sessions to survey what students want and need out of the new facility.  

Rec Sports wants to know what participants currently use in their facilities, changes they can make to improve student experience and what environment they expect out of Rec Sports facilities, Associate Director of Strategic Engagement and Wellbeing Alex Pierce said.

They want the facilities to accommodate all students, and are open to offering a range of services, from nutrition and athletic services to guided meditation and peer support groups, Diehl said. 

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Rep. Benjamin Wright asked if there will be gender neutral bathrooms and locker rooms and if there are plans for University Health Services counseling services at the new Nat.  

There will be gender neutral bathrooms and locker rooms, Rec Sports director John Horn said, and users will have their own personal space to shower and change apart from the general locker room. 

As for counseling services, Horn said conversations are “ongoing [with UHS]” and mental health task forces are in the talks.

Chair of Sustainability Katie Piel asked what sustainable design strategies Rec Sports are planning on implementing.

While nothing has been finalized yet, Horn said they are thinking about installing solar panels and a wind farm. 

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A heat return exchange program may be implemented too,  Horn said. Though it’s a new technology, he said a pool would generate energy to freeze and cool an ice rink and the energy that the ice rink develops can then be used to heat the pool. 

“The most sustainable thing that we can do is build a building that is going to last for 50 years,” Horn said.

Students have a very hands-on role in the process, Horn said. Of the 35 percent of the student population that voted, 87 percent approved raising student fees to create the Rec Sports Master Plan, he said. 

“The students have driven the bus on this master plan since the inception of it,” Horn said.

Rec Sports is hosting student listening sessions in the upcoming weeks in an effort to reach students and hear their concerns. They will be held at Dejope Residence Hall and Gordon Dining Hall at 6:30 p.m. April 23 and 24,
respectively.

Also discussed at Wednesday’s meeting was the UHS budget for fiscal year 2020.

Student Activity Center Governing Board Chair Jordan Pasbrig introduced the “FY20 Segregated Fee Allocation,” which said there will be further negotiations between ASM and UW regarding the 2020 budget. The legislation passed unanimously.

Currently, the total proposed segregated fee allocation is $58,220,446.42.

Wednesday’s meeting was the last for the 25th session. ASM’s 26th session’s first meeting will be held April 24.

Correction: A previous version of this article said the date Rec Sports listening session was held April 23 and April 25, respectively. It has since been updated to reflect that the second listening date is April 24. A previous version also suggested that the UHS segregated fee allocation was $58 million. It has since been corrected to the total fee allocation. The Badger Herald regrets these errors.