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The New Union South

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

Re: The New Union South

Postby barney » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:05 am

I'm also pretty sure the children who wrote this would have no memory of the OLD Union South. They would be singing the praises of the "character" of the new one if they remembered that dump.
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Re: The New Union South

Postby rabble » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:31 am

I think they could have done better with the scenery outside. Those &(#@* little steps are really easy to miss when your mind is elsewhere even now that they're painted on the edges. Why they did that instead of just an inclined plane is difficult to understand.

But the scenery is a secondary problem. The food really is awful. They sacrificed seating for rooms that are underused like that climbing gym.

And the food really is awful. Did I mention that? Those prices would be a little more explainable if you got something that wasn't a pile of fat with grease on it. (That applies to the new rathskeller too.)

Ginger Root is okay, but it's open three hours a day and the line stretches past the bubble gum pizza store and almost to the ice cream shoppe while the other places have like three customers. That's gotta tell you something.

There's a reason the food carts are doing so good these days.
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Re: The New Union South

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:41 am

barney wrote:I'm also pretty sure the children who wrote this would have no memory of the OLD Union South. They would be singing the praises of the "character" of the new one if they remembered that dump.

How about the Union Annex that preceded the old Union South? As a freshman engineering student in 1966, I remember going there for a beer or two with buddies. It was on the other side of the engineering campus in an old Quonset hut, with tables like those one would find in church basements where the women's auxillary served post-funeral meals.
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Re: The New Union South

Postby narcoleptish » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:59 am

I can't comment on the food but I'll take your word for it.

I just think that it is a very impressive building and if I was a student I would be happy spending time there. You're not going to recreate the Memorial Union today, the building or that chunk of land on the lake. With a campus as scenic as the UW, there's going to be some spots that lag behind. Maybe a little urban landscape is a nice change of pace after a mile-long lakeshore stroll.

Meanwhile the kids at MATC get to stare at the grass median on Anderson St.
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Re: The New Union South

Postby rabble » Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:07 pm

narcoleptish wrote:Meanwhile the kids at MATC get to stare at the grass median on Anderson St.

Yeah, that's true.

But boy, do those guys eat good. I've eaten there too. Funny how it affects the cafeteria when you've got a whole class of chef trainees to staff it.
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Re: The New Union South

Postby narcoleptish » Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:24 pm

How important do you think the food is, to (typically younger) students?

When I was that age I would eat anything. Not that they shouldn't be offering better, healthier food, but do you think the demand is there? You mentioned the line at the one better place so maybe it is to some extent. I figured they all subsist on Adderall and 5-hour energy drinks.
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Re: The New Union South

Postby green union terrace chair » Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:27 pm

The food is way overpriced, which is no surprise when you go there and see that it's also overstaffed most of the time. The place is overbuilt like the Overture, with money wasted on finishes that could have gone into other things or better yet, not spent in the first place.

Of course it's gorgeous, because another thing it has in common with the Overture is that it cost nearly as much to build.
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Re: The New Union South

Postby Stebben84 » Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:32 pm

narcoleptish wrote:How important do you think the food is, to (typically younger) students?


I'm not sure, but I've been to the new Gordon Commons and DeJope residence halls and they have some kick ass cafeterias. It surprised me that they did so well with these and made Union South so crappy. I think back to when I was a student at the old Gordon commons. That place was shit. Is Union South as bad as the old Gordon.

green union terrace chair wrote:with money wasted on finishes that could have gone into other things or better yet, not spent in the first place.


God forbid they actually try and make a place look nice. Also, do you have any documented proof that these finishes were overpriced or are you just finding a way to drag Overture into this?
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Re: The New Union South

Postby ilikebeans » Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:45 pm

green union terrace chair wrote:money wasted on finishes

This is exactly why the current Memorial Union or even the Capitol could never be built today.
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Re: The New Union South

Postby rabble » Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:53 pm

narcoleptish wrote:How important do you think the food is, to (typically younger) students?

When I was that age I would eat anything. Not that they shouldn't be offering better, healthier food, but do you think the demand is there? You mentioned the line at the one better place so maybe it is to some extent. I figured they all subsist on Adderall and 5-hour energy drinks.

I think some of them still do. But to me it looks like a little more than "to some extent."

There's a whole lot of them willing to stand in a line about three quarters of the building length, stepping aside this way and that to let traffic through, while every other food vendor has little or no line.

Put in some proper food and replace those freakin booby trap tripyourass stairs with a ramp, and the place wouldn't be half bad.
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Re: The New Union South

Postby Shorty » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:06 pm

Stebben84 wrote:
narcoleptish wrote:Were they supposed to build a **** lake and bring in some full grown trees?

It's the Badger Herald. What do you expect from a shitty college newspaper.

Planting some trees and grass would have helped. And the Herald writer was right on. The Badger Herald is just as good or better than the Cardinal.
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Re: The New Union South

Postby Shorty » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:09 pm

narcoleptish wrote:How important do you think the food is, to (typically younger) students?

Maybe I'm unusual but I've always preferred good quality food. When I was a college student I mostly ate some dorm food which usually had some good options, sometimes ate at the Unions, and sometimes went to State St. I think Memorial Union and Union South offered better food back than they do now.

Also, it's not only young college students eating at Union. Grad students, faculty, staff, and visitors need food, also.
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Re: The New Union South

Postby snoqueen » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:40 pm

This is exactly why the current Memorial Union or even the Capitol could never be built today.


They probably wouldn't be, either, because that style of building is no longer being done. The beaux-arts stuff is from the beginning of the last century and is pretty much not current because most people today aren't inspired by such explicit references to the ancient Greeks and Romans.

The finishes in the Wisconsin Institutes of Discovery and in the new part of the Chazen are top-notch, though -- expensive and well-designed natural stone, same as the Mem Union and Capitol but a hundred years newer. If those newer buildings age as well as the older buildings have, we'll be fortunate.

And the new bathrooms are a lot better.

Those quonset buildings (or similar) that contained the original engineering campus "union" were put up right after WWII when all the returning GIs went to school on their GI Bill money, and the campus had no room for everybody. At first the "temporary" buildings were all over the west end of campus -- I think the last one was torn down quite recently when they put up the new engineering building at the SE corner of Old University and Breese Terrace.

Image

Here is the Union South area in the 1950s. University Avenue (two ways) goes up diagonally to the right from the mid-center point of the bottom margin of the photo. The old heating plant smokestack is at the lower left. The curved part of W. Johnson wasn't built yet (I think the one-way pairing dates to the 60s), but you can see the railroad tracks in their present location. Notice the little triangular block by the tracks and Randall Ave. -- that's close to where Union South is now.

You can see a few of the postwar temporary buildings on Breese Terrace where it runs off the photo just above the midpoint of the right margin. I think the little white buildings on the Camp Randall grounds between Monroe St and the Stadium were temporary GI-era student housing as well.

If you want to see the picture in a larger format go here;
http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/ful ... _by%3Ddate
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Re: The New Union South

Postby Mad Howler » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:41 am

There is no question that UW Corporation, Bolt, Strang, WARF, et al. build beautiful buildings. They have floating stairways and everything but...
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Re: The New Union South

Postby kurt_w » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:50 am

snoqueen wrote:If you want to see the picture in a larger format go here;
http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/ful ... _by%3Ddate


Thanks for posting that link. One could spend all day browsing through the photos on that site.

Another source for historical photos is the Library of Congress's American Memory Project. In particular, their collection of panoramic photos includes some nifty ones from Wisconsin. This one, for instance, shows the same area as snoqueen's photo above, but from the ground and circa 1911. Note the older version of Camp Randall stadium (larger versions here):

Image

Here's New Richmond, WI after an F5 tornado hit in June 1899, killing 117 people (larger versions here):

Image

On a lighter note, here's the American Bowling Congress's tournament in Milwaukee, 1905 (larger versions here):

Image
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