UW-Madison Near West Playfields

The Near West Playfields at UW-Madison opened recently.

Those who want to enjoy the bunker-like weight room and labyrinthine hallways of UW-Madison’s Southeast Recreational Facility before the popular campus gym is demolished have until Aug. 18 to do so.

That will be the current SERF’s final day before the start of a $96.5 million project to replace the 34-year-old building with a new one that boasts more fitness space, studios and basketball courts, along with a regulation-size pool with a diving well and spectator seating.

Demolition is scheduled to start in October, The Daily Cardinal reported.

UW officials hope to have the new SERF open by fall 2019.

With the facility closed, the Division of Recreational Sports will open temporary fitness space in nearby Ogg Hall, and move some of the SERF’s equipment to the Natatorium, on the west side of campus, as well as to the Camp Randall Sports Center, better known as the Shell.

As one Rec Sports property closes, another one opens — crews recently completed a $6.8 million upgrade to the Near West Playfields.

The reopened fields on Observatory Drive boast synthetic turf, as well as new lighting, scoreboards and fences; they are open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day.

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Nico Savidge is the higher education reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.