Rendering of plans for new Southeast Recreation Center at the University of Wisconsin University of Wisconsin

Rendering of plans for new Southeast Recreation Center at the University of Wisconsin.

University of Wisconsin-Madison will replace recreation center with $96.5 million facility

The new Southeast Recreation Facility will provide four times as much fitness space as the existing facility.

The Wisconsin State Building Commission has approved a plan to demolish the Southeast Recreational Facility (SERF) on the University of Wisconsin Madison campus and replace it with an improved gym.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the $96.5 million project will provide a new facility that has nearly four times as much fitness space as the current recreation center, more studios and basketball courts, and a regulation-size pool with a diving well and spectator seating.

Students and staff member at Wisconsin have complained that the SERF—a building that opened in 1983—is too small to handle the crowds that come to work out in the facility, which is the most popular gym on campus.

The existing SERF is scheduled to close in August. Construction of the new gym will start in October, and officials hope to have it open by fall 2019.

Students voted in 2014 to increase fees to pay for the new SERF, along with upgrades to other campus gyms and recreation areas. About $50 million of the new SERF's cost will come from those fees; the rest will be provided by donors and by the the university's athletic department.

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