Campus buildings – On Wisconsin For UW-Madison Alumni and Friends Mon, 25 Mar 2019 17:14:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How High? Mon, 05 Nov 2018 20:30:16 +0000 Graphic of meteorological equipment with text "205 feet"

N. B. Rinehart

The tallest building on the UW–Madison campus isn’t Van Hise Hall, which stands 196 feet from the ground (not sea level). The Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences building holds that title, measuring at 205 feet (not including its satellite dishes), according to the Division of Facilities Planning & Management. The shortest building? The Poultry Research Lab — a paltry 20 feet high.

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Memorial Library Mon, 05 Nov 2018 20:30:14 +0000 The library was the state’s biggest building project since the Wisconsin Capitol in 1917. In the 1980s, plans for an eight-story addition were reduced by one floor to avoid blocking views of the capitol. Memorial Library is home to 3.5 million volumes — the largest single library collection in the state. Before the building’s construction in 1953, the library shared space with the Wisconsin Historical Society. Locked carrels, frequently called “cages,” are visible in this 1960s image. Second-year graduate students looking to avoid lugging books back and forth to the library can apply for one of the solitary study spaces. The library is known as one of the best places on campus to power through solo studying, a reputation reinforced by one review posted on Google: “Quietest public place for UW students. Not suitable for group work.”

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Note-Able Feature Wed, 23 May 2018 14:24:08 +0000 Worker on platform outside of building under construction

Jeff Miller

Those aren’t wagon wheels that passersby spotted earlier this year during construction of the Hamel Music Center at the corner of Lake Street and University Avenue. The so-called windows are sound chambers — part of a system that will help provide optimal acoustics in the building’s concert hall, recital hall, and rehearsal spaces. The $55.8 million project is funded solely with private money, including a $25 million gift from the Mead Witter Foundation.

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Chazen Museum of Art Thu, 22 Feb 2018 19:12:35 +0000 The Chazen presents 10 to 12 temporary exhibitions each year, featuring works from its permanent collection and pieces on loan from museums around the world. About 20,000 works of art that represent a range of historical periods, cultures, and countries — including this 1967 screen print of Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol — make up the museum’s permanent collection. Free tours are offered for school groups and other visitors, touching on highlights of the museum’s exhibitions and collection such as Our Good Earth, a 1942 piece by American painter John Steuart Curry. A bridge over East Campus Mall connects the Chazen Museum of Art expansion — opened in 2011 — to the former Elvehjem Art Center building. It offers both a gallery space and a view of Lake Mendota to the north.

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Spring Break Thu, 22 Feb 2018 19:12:35 +0000 Can we have class outside today? Environmental science students enjoy the environment on a spring day in 2017. Science Hall houses the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies — when it’s not outdoors.
Photo by Jeff Miller

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13 Campus Buildings Due for the Wrecking Ball Fri, 03 Nov 2017 23:02:36 +0000 Gary Brown ’84, UW director of campus planning and landscape architecture, describes it as a life-size chess game. Move a department here. Knock over a building there. Protect the landscape. And consider all possibilities at all times. The result? A comprehensive, ever-evolving, carefully calculated Campus Master Plan.

The UW’s latest plan, initially developed in 2015, calls for the removal of 13 campus buildings (or portions of them) over the next decade (not including the Southeast Recreational Facility, or SERF, which is in the process of being removed). Each of the projects, Brown says, will serve the plan’s big picture: better managing space while protecting historic buildings and campus landscapes.

The chess pieces are already moving. Sellery and Witte residence halls are beginning renovations to add floors, aiming to accommodate residents from the soon-to-be-removed Susan B. Davis and Zoe Bayliss houses. That will open up an area just south of Grainger Hall for a new academic building that could house the history department, which currently shares space in the Humanities Building. The long-range plan (2029 or later) is to then replace the Brutalist-style Humanities (which frequently leaks) with modern academic buildings and a pedestrian mall.

Another divisive building slated for eventual removal is Van Hise Hall, the tallest building in Madison after the state capitol. Many campus buildings from the 1960s and 1970s were rashly constructed in response to skyrocketing enrollment and built to last only about 50 years. “And now it’s 50 years later,” Brown says.

The UW considers many factors before deciding whether to keep, renovate, or remove a building. Paramount among them are cost efficiency and the ability to adapt to emerging needs. Some buildings — such as Witte and Sellery residence halls — still serve the same purpose for which they were originally built and have the capacity to be renovated easily. Others, including the recreational facilities, would be substantially more expensive or physically impossible to renovate (or bring up to code) rather than to rebuild.

Meanwhile, the unlucky 13 due for the wrecking ball may meet their demise sooner than anticipated. In July, the Madison Common Council approved the UW’s whole Campus Master Plan. The move could save six to nine months in the approval process — as well as millions of dollars — for each new building, Brown says.

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The Hole Story Thu, 20 Aug 2015 18:14:52 +0000 manhole cover

Number of manholes on campus. Photo: Jeff Miller.

There’s a reason why UW-Madison is in the Big Ten: it’s a big university. Its central campus covers 936 acres and has 388 buildings (since the opening of Signe Skott Cooper Hall, home of the School of Nursing, in 2014). Servicing all of these buildings across all this area isn’t easy. The university uses 1,107 manholes to maintain twenty-five miles of sanitary sewers, and twenty-five miles more of storm sewers. That means the UW has one manhole for every 238 and a half feet of pipe.

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The Red Gym’s Pool Tue, 18 Aug 2015 19:56:36 +0000 Red Gym swimming pool

Don’t look too closely, gentle readers, or you may get an eyeful. This photo from the 1940s–50s shows male students swimming nude (we’re pretty sure) at the Red Gym.

No, Badgers: absolutely none of the dips in the Red Gym’s pool may be of the skinny variety. That, at least, has been the policy since the late 1970s, and it’s unlikely to change today, as “the tank” was emptied for good and all in the 1990s.

You may think the university began enforcing anti-nudity rules due to an excess of fraternization between masculine and feminine student bodies. Rather it was the opposite: the sexes could not share a pool in peace.

Prior to February 1973, the Red Gym’s pool was for men only, and nude swimming was encouraged. That month, however, a group of female students forced their way into the tank — naked, of course — in order to liberate it from gender segregation. The Daily Cardinal covered the event (under the headline “Blue Water, White Thighs”), and within a year, the pool was coed, clothing required.

Why would feminudists feel the need to free the Red Gym’s pool? There were then two other swimming facilities on campus, one in Lathrop Hall (formerly women only, but coed long before ’73), and another (also coed) at the Natatorium, built in 1961. But those were both overcrowded, and the Red Gym was a sentimental favorite. And so they felt the need to make a splash, literally and figuratively.

Today the Red Gym has no more pool politics, as every whiff of chlorine is gone. The building provides office space for student groups — in particular, the Multicultural Student Center, the LGBT Campus Center, and International Student Services — as well as the Morgridge Center for Public Service. Clothing is still required.

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Commencement: The Ultimate Touchdown Wed, 27 May 2015 14:07:27 +0000 CommenceCampRand_BR14_9289

photo: Bryce Richter.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank gazes at a sea of black-clad grads-to-be. In May 2014, commencement was held at Camp Randall for the first time since 1990. For nearly a quarter of a century, the UW had four separate graduation ceremonies at the Kohl Center. The new venue allowed the graduating class to gather in one place and inspired them — not surprisingly — to celebrate by jumping around. At press time, some 5,800 students and 40,000 guests were again expected to mark the major milestone at the stadium this year. For the fourth year in a row, WAA planned to give graduates alumni pins to mark the transition from students to alumni.

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Old Buildings Evoke Nostalgia Tue, 26 May 2015 16:42:07 +0000 Image-for-Letters-page

James Mathee sent this photo of the Madison capitol taken by his grandfather, William Mathee, sometime between 1915 and 1917.

Thanks for the memories! [“Old School,” Spring 2015 On Wisconsin]. The grace and charm of old buildings cannot be replaced. It is sad, but change is inevitable.

Kristy Arthur

“Old School” brought back many memories of my time in Madison, both as a child growing up and as a university student. I attended Wisconsin High for three years before it closed in 1964 (not 1962, as you stated). I know this because it was my father, Lindley Stiles, who closed it. He was the dean of education at the time and felt the school had outlived its purpose. To say there was a lot of descending on our house over this is an understatement. There was even picketing on Bascom Hill, which I was not allowed to attend.

Trish [Patricia] Stiles Good ’71 Hummelstown, Pennsylvania

I read with a great deal of interest Jenny Price’s piece “Old School.” I am a 1990 graduate and often visit our daughter, who is a junior at UW–Madison. It is fascinating [to see] the changes that have taken place in a mere twenty-five years. My grandfather, William Mathee, attended the UW between 1915 and 1917. Photography was a hobby of his, and he passed on a couple of photo albums with some really interesting shots of Madison and the UW campus. [One of them was this] beautiful shot of the capitol building at night (above).

James Mathee ’90 Cedarburg, Wisconsin

I read the piece on UW buildings long gone and wanted to provide another perspective on Union South. I worked at Union South when it first opened — at the info desk and later in the games room.

The physical building may have been less than “warm,” but a lot of fun was had there. It was the first location of the Kentucky Fried Theater; the Red Oak Grill had great steak sandwiches; and lots of great pool and bowling went on. The lounge had a really cool jukebox. I heard some of the best ’70s music in that lounge. So the building might have been cold, but it hosted many hot days and nights.

Pam Butler ’73 Chicago

Your article “Old School” did indeed evoke memories here, as well as tears of joy. At ages seven to nine, in the 1930s, my friend Sue and I explored the shore of Lake Mendota from the back of the Phi Gamma Delta house to the willows, with stopoffs on the hill. We looked for mud puppies and unusual stones, and when that proved boring, we climbed the hill and peeked in the doors of Music Hall, the zoology building, and Bascom Hall, and went up the ski jump. We saw the Union Theater being built and got thrown out of the boathouse. “What are you two doing here?” and, “Do your folks know where you are?” followed us everywhere. What fun! I lost track of Sue as we grew older, but I will never forget her and the times we spent together.

Dolores Simms Greene ’51 Gainesville, Florida

Ugh — those old quonset hut classrooms, with their pre-AC “polar” hot/cold temperatures! Your photo gallery brings back many memories.

Mary Daniel

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