Bakke Recreation and Wellbeing Center

Madison, Wisconsin
Construction Cost: $65.7 million
Area / Square Feet: 270,916
Occupancy Date: April 2023

The Bakke Recreation & Wellbeing Center at the University of Wisconsin was designed to not only address the current and future recreation and fitness needs of the Madison community, but to become the center for wellbeing on a campus of nearly 50,000 students. The concept of total-body wellness inspires site integration, exterior massing and all interior spaces to create a truly unique collegiate recreation center experience. 

Located near Lake Mendota, the new center offers a 25-yard recreational pool, eight basketball courts, an ice sheet with spectator seating, multiple fitness areas, multipurpose studios and an indoor jogging track. The design also incorporates an adapted fitness space for the university’s Kinesiology program, esports, all-sport simulators, and a demonstration kitchen to provide a more inclusive experience. 

The design programmatically complements a recently opened recreation center on the opposite side of campus but strives to provide a unique environment that is inspired by wellness and its natural setting. From a four-level fitness center that is located specifically to capture views of Lake Mendota, to multiple rooftop terraces, the design is focused on connecting the users of the building with the landscape surrounding the facility. 

UW-Madison’s Rec Well staff recognized a major deficit on campus in programming dedicated to wellness. Bakke offers atypical amenities including the Wellness Suite, the Mind Body Studio, nap pods, massage therapy rooms and study spaces.

Architect of Record

Kahler Slater

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Design Architect


Kansas City, Missouri

Aquatics Consultant

Water Technology Inc. 

Beaver Dam, Wisconsin


Fitness Center - Cardiovascular EquipmentAssault Air Pro Bike
Training Facilities - Taping/Treatment TablesAthletic Edge Tables, Massage Tables: Stronglite Ergo Lift
Fitness Center - Entertainment SystemsAV: QSC
Fitness Center - Free-Weight EquipmentBeaverFit
Fitness Center - Cardiovascular EquipmentBoost
Fitness Center - Entertainment SystemsCable TV: SpectrumU
Fitness Center - Cardiovascular EquipmentCLMBR
Pools - Scoreboard/Timing SystemsColorado Time Systems
Fitness Center - Cardiovascular EquipmentConcept2
Fitness Center - Entertainment SystemsCycling Classes: Integlligent Cycling
Gymnasium/Field House/Arena - Scoreboards/Timing SystemsDaktronics
Pools - Deck/Basin SurfaceDal-Tile
Fitness Center - Entertainment SystemsDigital Signage: Four Winds Interactive by Poppulo
Fitness Center - Climbing WallsEldorado Climbing
Fitness Center - Free-Weight EquipmentELEIKO
Fitness Center - Entertainment SystemsEsports: GG Circuit
Fitness Center - Free-Weight EquipmentFitBench
Fitness Center - Cardiovascular EquipmentFreemotion
Fitness Center - Strength EquipmentFreemotion
Locker/Shower - LockersHollman
Gymnasium/Field House/Arena - Arena SeatingHussey Seating Co. 
Gymnasium/Field House/Arena - Bleachers/GrandstandsHussey Seating Co. 
Ice Rinks - Bleachers/GrandstandsHussey Seating Co.
Fitness Center - Assessment & Monitoring EquipmentInBody
Gymnasium/Field House/Arena - Basketball Backboards/SupportsJaypro
Gymnasium/Field House/Arena - Divider CurtainsJaypro
Gymnasium/Field House/Arena - Volleyball Nets and StandardsJaypro
Gymnasium/Field House/Arena - Wall PaddingJaypro
Fitness Center - Cardiovascular EquipmentKeiser
Fitness Center - Cardiovascular EquipmentMatrix
Fitness Center - Free-Weight EquipmentMatrix
Fitness Center - Strength EquipmentMatrix
Fitness Center - Flooring, AerobicsMondo
Fitness Center - Flooring, Fitness CenterMondo
Indoor Sports Surfaces - TrackMondo
Laundry - DryersPellerin Milnor Corp
Laundry - WashersPellerin Milnor Corp
Fitness Center - Free-Weight EquipmentPower Systems
Fitness Center - Cardiovascular EquipmentPrecor
Locker/Shower - Shower/Toilet PartitionsPSISC
Fitness Center - Entertainment SystemsQ-SYS, Crestron
Ice Rinks - DashersRink Systems
Indoor Sports Surfaces - BasketballRobbins Sport Surfaces
Indoor Sports Surfaces - MultipurposeRobbins Sport Surfaces
Fitness Center - Flooring, AerobicsRobbins Sport Surfaces
Fitness Center - Free-Weight EquipmentRogue
Fitness Center - Cardiovascular EquipmentScifit
Fitness Center - Entertainment SystemsSimulators: Full Swing
Locker/Shower - Swimsuit ExtractorsSuitmate by Extractor Corp. 
Fitness Center - Free-Weight EquipmentTag Fitness
Locker/Shower - FlooringUnicom Starker
Fitness Center - Cardiovascular EquipmentWoodway
Pools - Chemical Control SystemsBECS Technology
Pools - Lane MarkersCompetitor Swim
Pools - GuttersDaldorado
Pools - ADA LiftsFluidra/S.R.Smith
Pools - Cleaners/VacuumsMaytronics
Pools - Filtration SystemsNeptune-Benson
Pools - Sanitization SystemsNeptune-Benson
Pools - Circulation PumpsPentair
Pools - Cleaners/VacuumsSpectrum Aquatics
Pools - Ladders/Grab BarsSpectrum Aquatics