Union announces facility improvement feedback process

September 20, 2005

The Wisconsin Union will host a series of focus groups, surveys and open forums during the next six months to elicit input on possible improvements to the Union from students as well as other key user groups, including faculty, staff and Union members.

In addition, anyone can express opinions about any aspect of the project at any time by visiting the online input page concerning the Union’s Facility Improvement Plan.

The architectural firm Ayers Saint Gross and facility planners Brailsford and Dunlavey will conduct interviews and surveys of key students, faculty and staff. They also will visit the campus to review existing conditions, including university demographics, student union operating data, floor plans, and will tour Memorial Union, Union South and the surrounding campus. Ultimately, the plan will envision expansions and upgrades during the next 15-20 years, though immediate needs will receive priority attention.

“Memorial Union was built in 1929 and Union South in 1971,” says Marc Guthier, Union director. “There are many issues we need to address promptly — such as ADA accessibility, electronic infrastructure and heating/air conditioning. Space is another concern. We had to deny 1,300 requests for meeting space by student groups last year.

“Rather than taking patchwork approaches to addressing issues piecemeal we are developing a master plan to do so both short and long-term,” he added. “But we need input from our stakeholders, particularly students, to ensure we’re addressing their needs while involving them in the design process at every step to guarantee future students will have the state-of-the-art facilities they deserve. Our ultimate goal is to develop a renewed sense of community at the heart of campus.”

For more information about the master plan, contact Union Council president Janell Wise at jmwise@wisc.edu or 262-7853, or Eric Palm at empalm@wisc.edu or 262-7853.