Potential $20M Johnson Fieldhouse Plan to Erase Membership Fees and Increase Tuition

Logan Myhre-

The University of Wisconsin–Stout recreation complex committee, along with the Stout Student Association (SSA), recently conducted a feasibility study for a potential renovation of the Johnson Fieldhouse. This renovation could potentially include a new weight room, open gym, studio spaces and the removal of membership fees.  

The recreation complex committee, which is made up of both faculty from the athletic department, alumni and currently enrolled students, decided to put this together after a series of surveys done over the last six years determined that there were student needs not being met.

One of the identified student needs was lack of space. “These are all identified needs that the students had,” said Athletic Director Duey Naatz, who is a member of the committee, “Right now, if a person comes down to this building at 8 o’clock at night, there’s intramurals going on. You can’t shoot hoops, you can’t get in anywhere.”

The feasibility study had an architect come in and determine whether or not additional space could be added to address student needs in the current fieldhouse building and, if so, where it would go. According to Naatz, this study was completed in the fall semester and presented to SSA in December of 2017.

The architect determined that an addition could be made on the west side of the building, extending slightly into parking lot 4. The architect’s plan would be a 52-58,000 sq. ft. addition, complete with two new gyms, new locker rooms, three studio spaces and a lounge area.

According to Naatz, the estimated cost of the project is 20 million dollars, which would be funded through a “maximum” $250 increase in yearly segregated fees for students. Naatz noted that this increase would likely be added over a number of years and not all at one time.

Naatz also said that membership fees to use the facilities in the Johnson Fieldhouse would likely be removed as a result of the increase in tuition.

The next step in determining if this renovation will happen is for SSA to hold a referendum vote, in which students vote on the matter.  Naatz said this vote may be coming this semester.

“I think that it’s important for our students to know they are voting for the future of this campus,” Naatz said. “The students that are here now wouldn’t be paying this because this is four or five years down the road.”