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Construction work sinks with UW-Madison pool referendum

A student walks under a a banner hanging outside the Natatorium on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus urging students to vote in a referendum on whether to raise fees by $108 per year to pay for a $62 million renovation and expansion of the building. Critics say the university's $31,000 campaign to promote the plan, which included buying the banner, was an inappropriate use of funds. (AP Photo/Ryan J.Foley)

A student walks under a banner hanging outside the Natatorium on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus urging students to vote in a referendum on whether to raise fees to pay for a $62 million renovation and expansion of the building. The referendum failed last month. (AP Photo/Ryan J.Foley)

By Keith Barber

It’s been a month since students at University of Wisconsin-Madison have voted down a measure to expand and renovate the existing Natatorium at 2000 Observatory Drive, Madison.

A new plan has not surfaced.

According to The Badger Herald of Madison, the referendum, NatUP2010, was defeated in April with a record-breaking 34.5 percent voter turnout in the Associated Students of Madison election. Of the 13,788 who voted, 8,354 students opted against the referendum, which would have added $54.19 a semester to segregated fees in 2013 (for 30 years) to pay for the $62 million renovation project.

Members of the student government created a rule that states 15 percent of students must turn out for a capital building project constructed with student funds to be approved. The rule was established in 2006 after only 6 percent of students voted to raise fees to build a new south campus union.

The pool project, also known as the Lakeshore Recreation Facility, was to double the existing space of the facility, adding about 250,000 square feet, including an indoor turf field, weight-training rooms and cardio fitness space. The Natatorium offers one of three gymnasiums on campus. Architectural design work was prepared by Kahler Slater Architects Inc., Madison.

Keith Barber is a data reporter at The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at (414) 225-1821.

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