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New workout spaces prepared as SERF to close Aug. 18

July 26, 2017 By Alex Peirce
Illustration: Architect's rendering of exterior of new SERF building

A view of the new Southeast Recreational Facility to be built on Dayton Street along the East Campus Mall. The red line through the windows is a new running track, and the incline is a sprint ramp. Courtesy of UW–Madison Recreational Sports

The countdown has begun: You have only a few more weeks left to enjoy a workout at the Southeast Recreational Facility (SERF) before it closes permanently at the end of the day on Aug. 18.

The closure comes as part of the Rec Sports Master Plan to build larger recreational facilities to accommodate the fitness needs of a growing campus. Construction is expected to take two years, with a new facility scheduled to open during the 2019-2020 school year. The SERF project will increase fitness space from 8,500 square feet to 30,400 square feet at the SERF site, double the number of full-size basketball courts from four to eight, add four multi-purpose rooms, and increase the pool size from 16 to 29 short-course lanes.

Regardless of your favorite way to work up a sweat, there is still a place for you to continue many of your favorite fitness activities on campus.

A brand new cardio and functional training space, the “Cardio Court”, is now open at the Natatorium in Gym 4. The Cardio Court holds treadmills, ellipticals, rowers, upright and recumbent bikes, stair steppers, and some selectorized functional fitness equipment.

The Natatorium’s Performance Training Center (PTC) offers a variety of stretching, strength, and functional training equipment for students and affiliate members. UW-Madison Rec Sports


Moving the Natatorium cardio equipment upstairs to the Cardio Court allows Rec Sports to double the size of its weight room on the first floor. Even more cardio and strength equipment will be moved to the Natatorium once the SERF closes next month. The Natatorium weight room will be closed on Aug. 21 to accommodate these moves.

The Performance Training Center (also located at the Natatorium) will remain open through the SERF construction and offers countless opportunities for functional training workouts.

Last week, Rec Sports installed a Precor Queenax Bridge Functional Training System in the Cardio Court. While this may sound to some like meaningless fitness jargon, this sizable piece of equipment offers TRX and stretching systems, heavy bag and strength equipment, and much more. The rig will be available to open rec users and will also be incorporated into Small Group Training classes.

The Ogg Hall Fitness Center is scheduled to open on Aug. 28 and will house dozens of cardio pieces, including 22 treadmills, ellipticals, climb mills, ascent trainers, ARC trainers, rowing machines, and bikes. The new space will also have a free-weight section with barbells, dumbbells, curling stations, benches, racks, and a functional training and stretching area. The Ogg Hall Fitness Center is located in the Phillips Lounge on the first floor of the residence hall, next to the SERF.

Gym-goers who prefer the basketball and futsal gyms, as well as the pool, will be most affected by the SERF construction due to the inability to replicate these amenities elsewhere on campus. Basketball players are encouraged to move their games to the Shell or Natatorium (or outside while the weather is nice). Futsal players should check out the new Near West Fields, located just west of the Natatorium. Equipment can still be checked out from the Natatorium, and all players will need to bring their Wiscard for access to the fields. The Natatorium pool will have extended hours to accommodate swimmers from the SERF.

The Rec Sports Master Plan is a student-driven project, with students voting to support the plan in a referendum to the 2014 student government ballot. The plan passed with an 87 percent approval margin, one of the highest in school history.