UW–Madison seeks input on West Campus District development plans

UW–Madison has identified locations on the west side of campus for potential future development as part of its ongoing efforts to advance the university’s mission by ensuring adequate resources are available. Working in partnership with University Research Park and international design firm Perkins & Will, UW–Madison is studying several sites that provide re-development opportunities to generate long-term funding to support teaching, research and service.

Members of the campus and Madison community are invited to use an interactive feedback tool to share thoughts about the west side of campus as it is today, as well as ideas for future improvements. Input and questions provided using the tool will help inform vision and concepts for further exploration.

The greater real estate strategy came as a suggestion from the Revenue Innovations Study Group, appointed in 2019 by former Chancellor Rebecca Blank and former Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Laurent Heller. The group examined revenue opportunities that would help to close a gap between UW–Madison and its peer institutions in the Big Ten and other elite public universities. Over the last 10-15 years, UW–Madison’s revenue growth has substantially lagged behind these other institutions, many of which compete with UW–Madison for students, faculty and federal research funding.

“While several strategic initiatives have helped reduce this gap, UW–Madison is not catching up fast enough,” explained current Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Rob Cramer. “In order for UW–Madison to be competitive nationally and globally in the next several decades, we must act now to ensure our mission is well-funded. Investments supported by this strategy allow us to continue attracting the best and brightest students and faculty to Madison.”

In October 2021, the UW Board of Regents approved a memorandum of understanding between the Board of Regents and University Research Park to strategically use UW–Madison’s real estate assets to advance the mission.

“We have a valuable partner in University Research Park, with a track record of working with the university, private developers and businesses for over 30 years to transform former UW–Madison agricultural lands into a thriving innovation district west of campus,” Cramer said at the time.

The West Campus District is the first major real estate project to generate new revenue sources. A joint working group with members from UW–Madison and University Research Park identified high-opportunity land parcels, including a cluster of available and soon-to-be-available sites on the west side of campus, for future development. The design team is mindful of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve, as well as other natural spaces that contribute to the west campus experience. Many of these green spaces are protected from development and house ancient earthen mounds used for Native American burials and ceremonies.

University Research Park selected Perkins & Will to lead the design process and develop concepts for the district. With input from campus and community stakeholders, UW–Madison, University Research Park and Perkins & Will will deliver a data-informed, visionary and actionable plan for the West Campus District that will eventually be incorporated into the Campus Master Plan.

Campus and community members can access the interactive feedback tool online.

For more information about the project, please visit the Real Estate and Revenue Strategy page on the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration’s website.

This post was authored by Academic Affairs on 11/17/2022.