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Photo gallery The Service Building: Making campus go for more than a century

May 18, 2022 By Mike Klein

Campus is home to a lot of research and teaching and thinking, but plenty of people are needed to make the physical campus work — from heating and cooling, to landscaping, to renovations. For more than a century, a lot of those services were done by employees in the Service Building and Service Annex.

Soon, the Service Building and Service Annex will be torn down to make way for the new School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences (CDIS) building. Its operations, including the sheet metal shop, the lock shop and the carpentry workshop, are moving to locations around campus.

The buildings’ long history on campus, and the contributions of their occupants over the years, were celebrated Wednesday at an event planned by the Division of Facilities Planning & Management. “This group was like family,” said Don Schlagenhaft, senior architect in the physical plant. “You can always be yourself.”

The Wisconsin Historical Society will preserve architectural pieces of the buildings — some to be reused in future UW buildings — and oral histories are being gathered. The Service Building was built in 1910 and enlarged in 1921. It was designed by then-university architect Arthur Peabody, who designed more than 70 campus buildings — including Memorial Union and Camp Randall Stadium.

The exterior of a sandstone-colored building, with people crowded outside.

Around 450 current and past employees gathered to celebrate at the Service Building and Annex commemoration event. Photo by: Althea Dotzour

A man in a plaid shirt gesticulates.

Don Chisholm, a retired UW electrician (1968-2007), shares stories about his years of work in the Service Building. Photo by: Althea Dotzour

Two signs invite guests to offer oral histories and memories.

Displays of historic photos and invitations for attendees to share their stories through an oral history project were featured. Photo by: Althea Dotzour

A crowd of people look at the exterior of a brown building.

Visitors admire the circular window and architecture on the west side of the Service Building. Photo by: Althea Dotzour

Two people look at a board of photos.

From left to right, Jason Goddard and Jose Molina Ruano, carpenters at the finishing shop, tour the Service Building. Photo by: Althea Dotzour

Irma Smith and Mitch Smith, daughter and grandson of retired UW electrician Don Chisholm, look through a retrospective photo board at the event.

Irma Smith and Mitch Smith, daughter and grandson of retired UW electrician Don Chisholm, look through a retrospective photo board at the event. Photo by: Althea Dotzour

Two men smile and laugh together.

Melissa Marecek, a UW plumber for the last 16 years, and Bill Tim, a retired electrician who worked at the UW for 16 years, warmly greet each other. Photo by: Althea Dotzour

The exterior of a brown building, with people walking out.

Visitor walk out of the Service Building, designed more than a century ago by Arthur Peabody. Photo by: Althea Dotzour

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