Memorial Union Reinvestment (Status/Plan) / MUR


Email --Anna Johnson, MUR Marketing & Communications Coordinator
  Shauna Breneman, Communications Director

Phase I of the Memorial Union Reinvestment Project is now complete. It:
  • renovated and enhanced the West Wing and 5th floor
  • addressed the accessibility needs of the West Wing by removing some of the level changes and adding various ramps, lifts and elevators
  • enhanced the program needs of building users -- most notably Outdoor UW, the Wisconsin Union Theater, Wheelhouse Studios and the Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD)
  • updated the infrastructure of the West Wing by addressing aging HVAC system, plumbing and lighting
Phase II is currently underway.  It:
  • will address needed upgrades to mechanical, fire and sprinkler systems, as well as cosmetic restoration for many of the Memorial Union's significant spaces
  • will transform the current cafeteria-style dining space into multiple unique eateries
  • will address accessibility issues throughout the central core, east wing, and historic Terrace spaces
Quick Facts/Project Goals:
  • No tax dollars were used to build the new Union South or renovate Memorial Union.  The building will continue to be funded via student segregated fees, operating revenue and donations. 
  • Phase II
    • Details of this phase are not yet finalized but it will include an update of the Central Core of the Union as well as the Commons Wing. 
    • Slated to begin after Phase I is completed.
  • It has been a Collaborative Design Process.
    • Students have played an integral role in the design process of the Memorial Union Reinvestment. Students have consistently shared their input through surveys, open forums and interest group meetings.
    • The three main design bodies that made important design decisions on the project were led by a student majority.
  • Preserving a Historic Building.
    • The Memorial Union is one of the most beloved and historic buildings on campus. One of the project goals is to enhance this iconic place. The design team is working closely with the Wisconsin State Historical Society to ensure we preserve the integrity of the building while improving its overall relevance, excitement and vibrancy.
  • Project Architect Firms
    • Uihlein Wilson: based in Milwaukee, their last UW-Madison project they worked on was the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery (WID) next to Union South. Our Design Principal is Del Wilson.
    • Moody Nolan, Inc.: based in Columbus, OH, their last UW-Madison project was our very own new Union South. Our Design Principal is Curt Moody.
  • Construction Manager
    • The Boldt Company: based in Appleton, WI with a local office in Madison, WI, their recent UW-Madison projects include the Park Street Redevelopment project, constructing Smith Hall and the 21 N. Park St. administrative building. Our Project Manager is Melanie Taylor.
Current Status of the Project: 
  • Most areas of the west wing and 5th floor are now open to the public.
  • New bike parking space in Lot 1 is now available. (Lot 1 no longer offers public parking, although a few spots remain for UW Disability Permit holders).
  • Phase II began in Fall 2015

What Does Phase II Include?


There are a number of significant spaces in the next phase that will undergo preservation and restoration work. While much needed mechanical, fire and sprinkler upgrades will occur in these spaces, the most noticeable work will come in the form of cosmetic restoration. Spaces slated for preservation and restoration include: Der Rathskeller, the Trophy Room, the Historic Terrace, Main Lounge, Tripp Commons, Old Madison, Porter Butts Gallery and the Great Hall. We are excited to return these spaces back to their original grandeur and beauty.


While Der Rathskeller will see preservation, proposals call for significant changes to much of the east end of the first floor. The coffee house will move to the southeast corner of the building and ice cream will sit along the east side, making for easy access from Alumni Park. The space currently occupied by Lakefront on Langdon will also undergo a complete reimagining. To meet the demands of our students and members, the current cafeteria style will be upgraded to a set of three eateries, each one reflecting the styles and general concept of the very popular dining spaces at Union South. Meanwhile, ample seating and lake views will be preserved.

The Terrace:

The historic Terrace and the historic tree canopy have been preserved. The remaining portions of the Terrace, which were last reconstructed in 1985, have been ungraded. For the first time, there Terrace is now completely accessible.This included the addition of ramps to bring the space up to standards, as well as a few additional access paths through the Terrace space. A larger stage was also constructed. Additionally, the outside grade around the north and east sides of the building were brought up to the same level as the first floor inside. This allows for easy flow between the Terrace and the new dining spaces on the north side of the building.

Keywords:mem mu re-invest investment constructin lot 1 construction plan phase i ii I II design terrace project goal goals hoofer hoofers terrace library mall fund funding funded   Doc ID:24924
Owner:Information Services Specialist .Group:Campus and Visitor Relations
Created:2012-06-29 12:35 CDTUpdated:2016-10-25 15:26 CDT
Sites:Campus and Visitor Relations
Feedback:  0   0