The University of Wisconsin is currently considering the redevelopment of Library Mall, a central piece of campus positioned between Memorial Library, State Street Mall, the Wisconsin Historical Society and Langdon Street.

UW Director of Campus Planning & Landscape Architecture Gary Brown said the university has been working for over 20 years on fulfilling the Campus Master Plan to redevelop the entirety of East Campus Mall, from Lake Mendota south to Regent Street. All areas are completed to date with the exception of Library Mall.

“This is one of the last critical sections for this multi-year project and one I can proudly say has been a long-term goal of mine as the university landscape architect and director of campus planning,” Brown said. “The upcoming work will create a feasibility study with concept drawings, a cost estimate and potential schedule for future implementation of the recommendations as private gift funding is identified for this development.”

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The project will follow recommendations provided by the 2015 Campus Master Plan-Landscape Master Plan for new paving, landscape plantings, seating, lighting, stormwater management and passive recreation lawn areas. The Library Mall Redevelopment Study aims to define project goals based on stakeholder input and will anticipate cost and schedule estimates, as well as any possible conceptual alternatives.

The redevelopment will be completely gift-funded, according to Brown. Funding and schedule are constraints to any capital improvement plan, but UW Campus Planning and Landscape Architecture will be using the feasibility study to define and propose budgets and timelines.

“Balancing the various hopes, dreams and desires for public open spaces such as this will be a challenge but one we feel can be completed and result in an amazing new space for all to enjoy,” Brown said. 

The project will host community workshops to gather input and creative ideas from the public. The first community meeting will be a virtual session from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on March 23, and the second meeting will be in May.

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Brown said the team, including a core group of community leaders and more than 30 stakeholder groups, will work to engage with the community to assure the project is hearing voices from across campus and the city of Madison, particularly from historically underrepresented groups.

“Library Mall has historically been a gathering space for celebration, tribute and events but also for protest and the raising of our collective voices,” Brown said. “We want to hear from everyone on what they believe this place can be and how it will meet our shared goals.”