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Construction Begins on Historic Red Gym

July 3, 1997

The first phase of the renovation of the historic Red Gym is underway. The building, which went up in 1894, will reopen in 1998 as a student services center.

Because the Red Gym is on the National Historic Landmark Registry – it was added in 1993 – the building’s essential architecture must be preserved “as is.”

Over its century-plus history, the building has seen action as a military training facility, gymnasium, infirmary and art exhibition space. In 1904, the Red Gym served as the site of the Wisconsin Republican Convention, an important event in the history of the Progressive Movement.

When remodeled the building will house UW–Madison student services including admissions, International Student and Scholar Services, student organizations, student orientation programs, a campus visitor center, the Campus Assistance Center, the Multi-Cultural Center and the John and Tatia Morgridge Center for Public Service.

Steve Saffian, UW–Madison assistant dean of students and project point person, says the Red Gym renovation will cost approximately $11.75 million.

According to project site manager Mark Pertzborn of J.H. Findorff & Son, the initial phase, which involves the removal of unsafe structural and flooring areas, will last through most of July.

The next phase will begin in August and, according to Saffian, will center on interior structural work including stairs, electrical wiring and more.