University of Wisconsin unveils Athletic Department facility master plan
Significant upgrades to Camp Randall Stadium, the Kohl Center and the UW Field House are included in the latest facility master plan for the University of Wisconsin (UW) Athletic Department.
The focal points of the plan includes more academic, competition and wellness amenities for student-athletes, expanded office space for coaches and administrators, as well as additional premium seating options.
The master plan is shaped in part by input from donors, season ticket-holders, UW coaches and department heads, and depicts a grand, futuristic vision for Badgers sports facilities across the board.
Athletic department officials stress that the outline is a collection of discussion points and that any projects are years away from being implemented, if at all.
Jason King, the UW Senior Associate Athletic Director for Capital Projects, said:
Images in this report are just concepts for us to continue to explore. They’re not set in stone.
A master plan is a road map to your future and there are a lot of different ways to get to where you need to be.
The potential improvements are part of a 169-page report, which was months in the making, that was shared with members of the UW Athletic Board for discussion at their meeting last Friday.
The master plan for UW Athletics is independent from one currently being assembled by the campus, but the two plans work hand in hand.
The most recent master plan for Wisconsin athletic facilities, compiled in 2007, resulted in the US$86m Stephen M. Bennett Student-Athlete Performance Center (SAPC) and the US$27.9m LaBahn Arena. (The former, which opened in 2014, provides a modern hub for academic, sports medicine, nutrition and conditioning needs for student-athletes around the Camp Randall footprint. Whereas the LaBahn Arena is home to the men’s and women’s swimming and hockey programs, and opened in 2012. The facility, adjacent to the Kohl Center and linked via walkway to the pool in the Southeast Recreational Facility, includes a rink that’s used for competition by the women’s hockey team and for practice by the men’s squad.)
It remains to be seen what pieces of the latest master plan come to life, however, it references multiple potential upgrades at Camp Randall, which opened in 1917 and is the fourth-oldest stadium among Football Bowl Subdivision schools in the nation.
One project would focus on the south end zone, where premium seating opportunities would be created and, perhaps, tie in with the adjacent Field House to benefit volleyball. The estimated cost for this would be between US$40m to US$50m.
Another possible undertaking at the 80,321-seat facility involves the west side, where concourses would be widened, premium seating options added and the press box modernised. The cost of this has been estimated at US$125m to US$150m.
We’re excited about the prospect of doing additional renovations at Camp Randall, but we want to be careful with our resources. It’s more likely that the project at the south end of Camp Randall would come first.
In addition to new windows and air conditioning, the south end of the Field House is thought to be in need of an updated exterior. One idea calls for the creation of a plaza-like entryway along Little Street, which would cost around US$8m.
The southeast corner of the Kohl Center harbours another idea. A three-level addition would triple the size of the current academic services area and double the area for strength and conditioning. It would also provide new coaches offices for both basketball programs and the men’s hockey program, in addition to renovated locker room spaces. This has been estimated at US$40m to US$45m.
There’s also the idea that the McClimon Track and Soccer Complex could use a modern grandstand and press box as well as locker rooms, which would expect to cost in the region of US$8m to $10m.
The master plan also casts an eye toward Nielsen Tennis Stadium, where additional outdoor courts, locker room space and an athletic training area are outlined.
As always, any projects that become reality will eventually be of great benefit to student-athletes at the UW.
King said UW lags behind its Big Ten peers in terms of premium seating options for fans at Camp Randall and the Kohl Center. He also confirmed that all available inventory is spoken for and that a survey of donors and season ticket-holders outlined interest in more.
King emphasised that items on the master plan are years away from fruition:
When we get to a point where we think we might unveil one of those projects, we’ll have a plan. We’re not at that point right now, but we’re excited about what the future might hold.
UW ATHLETICS FACILITIES MASTER PLAN FAQs
Why create a new master plan?
Nine of the 12 items on the 2007 master plan have been completed, so it is time to unveil a new plan that will continue our momentum into the future. The potential projects at the Kohl Center, McClimon and Nielsen directly address that. The potential renovations at Camp Randall Stadium are the result of a number of surveys we sent out to donors and season ticket holders over the last year. Through those surveys, we were able to address some of the desires raised by our supporters, including a desire for increased premium seating options.
How would all of this be paid for?
Any future construction plans outlined in the UW Athletics Facilities Master Plan will be financed through a combination of Athletic Department program revenue, gifts to the Athletic Department and bonding. No taxpayer money will go towards these construction plans.
When will construction start?
We can’t say at this time when any of these potential projects would begin.
Will any current football season ticket locations be impacted by the possible renovations?
Any potential renovation of Camp Randall Stadium will not happen for a number of years. If the renovation moves forward as detailed in the UW Athletics Facilities Master Plan, a number of options for affected season ticket holders will be put in place and communicated well before any seats are impacted.
Is there any plan to open the upper deck of the Field House included in the master plan?
Improvements to the Field House include beautification of the main entrance (south end), replacement of the windows and a possible addition of a club area/premium seating space in the upper level that will be connected to an outdoor area that looks out into Camp Randall. UW is continuing to evaluate the prospect of opening portions or the entire upper deck for general admission.