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Wisconsin Union Association News

Union Taking A Spin Underground

Posted: 08/23/16

Union Taking A Spin Underground

What spins 360 degrees and is making the world a more beautiful place? The Memorial Union Reinvestment’s underground loading dock.

The loading dock was planners’ solution for a unique challenge; replace the previous cramped, underutilized surface lot with a beautiful park and create an efficient loading and unloading system for area UW-Madison facilities.

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Recently featured in the Isthmus, the underground loading dock will allow trucks to load and unload directly beneath what will become a green space. When completed, the loading dock will assist with more than 350 deliveries and waste collections each week.

Construction on the 17,000 square foot underground delivery utopia began in May 2015 and is expected to be ready for trucks carrying Babcock Ice Cream, brats and other Wisconsin Union staples by the end of summer 2016.

What will taking a spin on the underground loading dock will be like? The truck will enter the underground loading dock from Langdon Street by driving down a ramp to a turntable-style device beneath a tree-covered park between the Red Gym and Memorial Union. The device will spin, allowing the driver to back into one of three loading and unloading bays. Once the truck is unloaded, the driver will simply drive forward up the ramp and safely turn onto Langdon Street.

This unique spin on loading and unloading means drivers will easily be able to comply with City of Madison ordinances that prohibit trucks from backing onto city streets.

This innovation also means beautification. The previous surface lot that served as the loading and unloading area for Memorial Union also included the building’s waste disposal facilities (and the sights, smells and sounds associated those operations). The underground loading dock project includes the outdated waste disposal facilities going underground, too.

What will remain above ground? Well, that’s the beautiful part. A green space to be known as Alumni Park will replace the surface lot. This tree-dappled promenade will seamlessly blend into the iconic Memorial Union Terrace and will serve as a year-round celebration of the Wisconsin Idea.

For more information about the Memorial Union Reinvestment project, visit

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