New Theatre Lobby to steal Terrace Space

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Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:24 am
Location: Madison

New Theatre Lobby to steal Terrace Space

Postby saildirk » Fri Aug 19, 2011 9:53 am

Jay Rath did very little research in his August 18th piece on page 18 when he discussed the plan to create a Glass Box extended Union Theatre Lobby taking over the upper Union Terrace.

To find out more all he would have had to done was read the emails sent to Isthmus or do a google search. The Website has all the background he would have needed to write a balanced article.

Here are some of the misconceptions Mr Rath overlooked.

Students voted for the Project so it must be built.

Actually the UW-Madison voted four times on referendum proposed by the Union. The first was in the Spring of 2005 when the Union proposed a 1000 seat banquet hall in this same space. Students voted that idea down and rejected losing any Terrace space. The actual referendum that passed in late April 2006 only stated that the Theater/Hoofer Wing would be "Restored". There is no mention of a theatre lobby only for expanded "Student Lounge"

The Upper Terrace is not part of the Terrace but separate.

The entire space has been public space for 50 years and the Upper Terrace has the best scenic overlooks. The large staircase will be removed and access from Park Street will be eliminated.

The Sunset will not be blocked

Part of the great attraction of the Terrace is the spectacular sunsets. The architects did animations with the sun setting to the north of picnic point that never happens in reality. Walk out on the lower Terrace and consider that the addition will be as high as the overhanging deck and extending 3/4 of the way across the current Upper Terrace.

There was no other option then to extend toward the lake.

Rath writes that the current lobby in the basement by the bathrooms was inadequate and needed to be replaced. Several other options were available, including taking out the inner walls where the box office was and extending the glass out to the edge of the overhang. Another idea was to put an addition directly to the East of the Union Theatre.

Why is the Union insisting on taking over large areas of the Terrace. It is clear that Summer Conferences and Weddings have become an attractive revenue stream. There are few Theatre events in the summer when a glass box would have good views overlooking the lake. In the Winter there are weekly events, but the sunset is at 4:30 PM.

What is clear is that Students voted repeatedly against losing Terrace space but the Union persists in wanting to reduce the size of the Terrace and create a rentable VIP space.

The Union Terrace is Madison's backyard. It is more than just a place overlooking the lake. All Madisonian's cherish the Union Terrace as a place to meet friends after work and take visitors from out of town. No place is considered the community meeting ground than the Union Terrace. Any change should be thoughtfully debated and reviewed.

Please check out the drawings and discussions at

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