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Field House exterior renovation projects planned to begin in early 2020 gain approval

May 16, 2019 GMT

Projects to clean up the exterior of the University of Wisconsin Field House and construct a new plaza outside its south doors have been given a thumbs-up.

Jason King, UW’s senior associate athletic director for capital projects and operations, told the Athletic Board’s finance, facilities and operations committee on Wednesday that the work, totaling just under $6 million, was approved by the State Building Commission.

An exterior renovation to the 88-year-old building will include new, historically accurate doors and windows that will increase energy efficiency. The price tag was reported at $2.995 million, 92% of which will be paid for from UW athletics gift funds.


The redevelopment of the south plaza outside the Field House was ticketed at $2.998 million, with 94% of the money coming from gifts.

The latter project will reconfigure the area between the arena and Monroe, Little and Regent streets with new retaining walls, landscaping and steps.

King said after the meeting that no final decision had been made on the fate of the Nails’ Tales sculpture that is near the corner of Regent Street and Breese Terrace, in the redevelopment area.

The future of the Donald Lipski-designed sculpture of a tower of footballs came into question when it wasn’t included in a concept sketch of the restoration earlier this year.

King told the committee that the athletic department hopes to seek bids for the projects this fall, with construction to begin early in 2020.

“This is going to be a really nice project that’s going to clean up the windows and the exterior of the Field House and then create a nice plaza,” King said.

Also Wednesday, King updated other building projects at Badgers venues:

• Through a donation, the UW men’s hockey locker room lounge between the Kohl Center and LaBahn Arena is being renovated starting this week to add functionality.

• The field sprinkler system at the McClimon Track/Soccer Complex is due for repairs before a new grass soccer surface is installed.

• An architect has been assigned for a $48 million addition to the Kohl Center that will provide new academic, sports medicine, strength and conditioning, and administrative areas. Including design and construction, that project will last around three years.

Interim chief financial officer Paul Seitz told the committee that spending and revenue projections for the 2018-19 fiscal year that runs through June are in line with the budget.

Seitz, a staff member in the school’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration who took over athletics budget duties when Mario Morris left UW for Notre Dame last month, said the projected net surplus for the year is $170,181.

Total revenue is projected to be more than $143.8 million.