New campus facilities: Some done, more to come

Aug. 20, 2013

by Käri Knutson

If it seems like there’s always a campus construction project going on, that’s because there always is. But the school year will begin with many improvements ready for students and staff, with more being finished in the near future.

“All of these projects make a huge difference,” says Dan Okoli, campus architect and director of capital planning and development.

Housing projects take priority since students are moving in. Students will be welcomed back by:

Carson Gulley Center, a $10 million, 14,500-square-foot renovation which includes marketplace-style dining stations as well an updated meeting and event space, updated landscaping and a patio area.

Aldo Leopold Hall, a 176-bed, $17.4 million residence hall designed to LEED silver and includes a rooftop greenhouse.

Robert and Irwin Goodman Softball Complex, a recently completed athletics facility on the west campus. At 15,000 square feet, it consists of indoor practice field, offices, locker areas, training room, lounges and storage.

“These projects will make an immediate impact on students,” Okoli says. “It’s exciting for them to see the outcome.”

There’s been a lot of activity behind Bascom Hall, but that should be wrapping up soon. The coating and railings of the steps behind Bascom Hall are scheduled for completion by Aug. 23. Crews have also been working at the corner of Linden and Charter streets to repair the steam pit and should have it completed by Sept. 3.

Other campus projects include:

Gordon Commons site restoration, expected to be completed by end of August.

Birge Hall exterior stone restoration, expected to the done by end of September.

Memorial Union Theater Wing renovation and expansion, expected to be finished by May 2014. Parts of the project are already finished, including the terrace and Hoofers areas, and the Lake Mendota shoreline restoration.

Student Athletes Performance Center. This 146,000 square-foot project consists of three phases separated by two football seasons. It upgrades training facilities for athletics, provides space to help student athletes thrive academically, and improve the landscape around the site including Badger Way.

Wisconsin Institute for Medical Research on the west campus is expected to be mostly done by November 2013. 

Okoli often hears people talk about the projects, especially improvements to buildings.

“For some, it’s the first time they’ve entered the space. Others see the work that has been done,” Okoli says. “Students take a lot of pride in showing off this campus. That is the success story as far as I’m concerned.”