Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


New state-of-the-art humanities building to replace Susan B. Davis Residence Hall, former Zoe Bayliss Co-Op

Demolition of two housing facilities will make space for new humanities building
Cat Carroll

Both the Susan B. Davis Residence Hall and the former Zoe Bayliss Student Housing Co-Op are being torn down to build the Irving and Dorothy Levy Hall, as part of the University of Wisconsin’s Campus Master Plan, which was implemented by former Chancellor Rebecca M. Blank.

Levy Hall will replace the current George L. Mosse Humanities Building and become the new academic building for the College of Letters and Science, according to UW News.

The new facility will also consolidate the Department of History and multiple other L&S academic units currently scattered across five different campus locations — providing them a cohesive home, UW Director of Media Relations Kelly Tyrrell said in an email statement to The Badger Herald.


“This state-of-the-art facility will create a teaching and learning environment that supports and enhances the world-class education UW–Madison provides,” Tyrrell said. “It will replace the Humanities Building on the corner of University Avenue and Park Street and create a unified home for several L&S academic departments, programs and centers that currently are spread across five facilities on campus.”

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This change is part of the 2015 Campus Master Plan’s goal to best manage campus space while still preserving historic campus landscapes, according to OnWisconsin. There are 11 other buildings on campus that are planned for removal to accommodate the Campus Master Plan.

Many of the buildings being torn down were built in a rush to make room for increased enrollments in the 1960s and 70s and were only meant to last on campus for about 50 years, hence their removal now, according to OnWisconsin.

Once the construction of Levy Hall is complete, the majority of UW undergraduates will likely enroll in at least one class that takes place in this facility, Tyrrell said. This is largely due to the fact that most L&S courses serve as a fundamental component of most UW majors.

In total, the Levy building is anticipated to cost around $116 million. $20 million of this cost has been funded through the donation of Jeff and Marv Levy, alumnus of UW. The building will be named after Irving and Dorothy Levy, the parents of the Levy brothers, according to UW News.

The two housing facilities being demolished to compensate for Levy Hall’s implementation stood next to each other and housed around 40 residents each. Davis Hall has offered a home to UW students since 1961, according to Tyrrell.

While the new academic facility is meant to provide state-of-the-art classrooms and resources and to enhance educational experiences for all students, former residents of Davis Residence Hall and the old Zoe Bayliss Co-Op are not as excited for the change. Jasmine Robinson was one of the last residents to live in Davis before it was confirmed for demolition.

“I was really happy with Davis because I loved my experience there,” Robinson said. “Davis is a really small dorm and it felt a little more intimate in a sense. It was a really good location on campus as well.”

Robinson was originally planning to rehouse in Davis for the next academic year. But, after finding out Davis was getting torn down, she was hoping for support from the university, but was left scrambling to look for other housing on her own. Additionally, Madison tight housing market did not make it easier, as most places were already taken.

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But in preparation of the project, UW has made recent renovations to Witte Residence Hall and Sellery Residence Hall to provide additional housing space, which will compensate for the closure of Davis Residence Hall, Tyrrell said.

“Given the small size and age of Davis, along with the campus need for a new Letters & Science academic space, this site was a logical fit for part of the development project,” Tyrrell said.

While some students may not be pleased with the removal of these two housing facilities, Levy Hall will provide a place for students to gather and connect with each other and their professors to enhance collaboration.

The five-story building with 26,000 square feet of classroom space will be located at the southwest corner of Park Street and West Johnson Street, according to UW News. Construction for Levy Hall is planned to open for the 2026 academic year and the current Mosse Humanities building will be coming down in 2029, according to The Cap Times.

An artist rendering of Irving and Dorothy Levy Hall

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect the fact that the former Zoe Bayliss housing facility was a student housing co-op, not a residence hall.

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