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University of Wisconsin-Madison Nicholas Recreation Center

Madison, Wisconsin

The new Nicholas Recreation Center, a.k.a., the Nick, offers a plethora of health and wellness opportunities for the University of Wisconsin-Madison community.

Open fitness neighborhoods, a central stair and ample use of interior glass all enhance connectivity and help users navigate through the five-story building. Direct views between the open fitness area and new aquatic center strengthen the link between the two spaces. Large windows provide views to the outdoors and plenty of daylight.

The program responds to current fitness trends with 30,000 square feet of dedicated space for strength, cardio and functional fitness; an eight-basketball court gymnasium accommodating multiple uses; five exercise studios; areas for comprehensive wellness programming; a multi-level indoor track with views onto the Capitol; racquetball courts; a turf area; offices; classrooms; and an Olympic-sized pool with a separate diving well and seating for 1,000 spectators.

A functional training sprint ramp is alongside an expanse of glass that gives the passerby views of the fitness and recreation activities occurring inside.

The aquatic center provides a shared, multiuse space for both the Division of Recreation Sports and the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics. Each has separate public entry points.

The design promotes accessibility and inclusion. Features include an inclined entry, ADA buttons on doors, an easily accessed elevator and universal, gender-neutral locker areas.

Located on a main pedestrian spine, the building has become a beacon for campus recreation. Exterior materials and colors unify nearby student life, athletic and academic buildings.

HOK and Workshop teamed with UW-Madison on the design of this new rec center, which replaced the Southeast Recreational Facility (SERF).

251,000 sq.-ft. / 23,320 sq. m.
NIRSA Outstanding Sports Facility Award
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