University of Wisconsin-Madison

University of Wisconsin-Madison

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Madison, WI


The mission of the Division of Recreational Sports is to enhance the University of Wisconsin-Madison experience by providing excellent programs, services and facilities that promote the social, mental and physical well-being of the campus community.


The Division of Recreational Sports manages 4 separate facilities and over 70 acres of outdoor activity space at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Our Division sees approximately 1.7 million users per year.  About 83 percent of that number are enrolled students and over 36,000 of the 42,000 enrolled students use the Division’s facilities and programs each year.  We have over 40 active sport clubs and serve over 14,000 students each year in Intramural Sports programs.  Our Group Fitness program sees on average about 80,000 users each year, and over 2,500 individuals utilize our personal training program in a variety of offerings.  We employ over 700 students annually and consider our student development program to be at the core of what we do.

Students first asked us to consider a Master Plan for new recreational facilities in Spring 2012. With overcrowded and outdated buildings that do not serve campus demand and that are far behind the national standard for fitness space, the current facilities do not meet the needs of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In a March 2014 referendum to the student government ballot, students voted in favor of the Rec Sports Master Plan for new recreational facilities. A record-breaking 87 percent of students who voted demonstrated their support for the project, which includes new construction of two buildings (the SERF and the Natatorium) and two outdoor fields (Near West and Near East).

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is consistently ranked as one of the world’s leading academic and research institutions. New facilities will help extend our university’s world-class reputation from the classroom to the overall campus experience. We are not only creating larger spaces that will meet demand. We are creating opportunities for Badgers to play hard, get fit, and live well so that they can be more effective students, professionals, and contributors to society. Our Division has worked with Smithgroup, JJR on our first project, the Near West Playfield Upgrade, and are currently working with HOK Architects and Workshop Architects on the first major facility, the Southeast Recreation Facility Replacement.  Future projects include the Natatorium Replacement, and Near East Playfield Upgrade.


Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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