West Campus District Plan

UW-Madison’s west campus is home to robust research enterprises, hospitals, recreation, and academic activities. With a world class hospital, diverse community and beautiful natural areas, the potential exists to make this space even more valuable and vibrant.

From the summer of 2022 to October 2023, UW-Madison, in partnership with University Research Park, conducted a planning process to reimagine and redesign the west campus. Development and implementation of this “West Campus District Plan” will take place over the next 30 years to improve research, teaching, learning, healthcare, industry, and community connections.

This planning process aimed to understand important problems facing our community, assist people in expanding their livelihoods, and create new career pathways.

West Campus is defined as the area of campus bounded by Willow Creek on the east, University Hospital/Highland Avenue on the west, Campus Drive on the south, and Lake Mendota on the north. This area is approximately 127 acres.

This is the first project connected to the revenue innovation study group as an effort to create additional opportunities to advance the university’s mission.

Visit our Frequently Asked Question section for additional answers about the district plan and current concept designs.

Current Design Concept

This plan included a long-range (30+ years) vision and multiple delivery models spanning multiple decades. There was flexibility built into the plan to accommodate and adapt to the changing needs of the university and surrounding community.

Learn more about the plan here.

Concept Maps

Stakeholder Engagement

The West Campus District Plan project team held over 150 stakeholder meetings with a wide range of groups in an out of the university as well as and 7 open houses with over 500 attendees during the project’s engagement period (Summer 2022 to October 2023) and gathered feedback about the existing priorities, current and future needs, and important elements to address for west campus users and stakeholders.

These meetings included stakeholders from the UW-Madison community, city and state partners, surrounding neighborhoods, and private industry.


The West Campus District Plan will be informed by the Revenue Innovations principles. This includes supporting the University’s desire to enhance and promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and healthy communities, and honoring our relationships with sovereign Native Nations.

As a part of the UW-Madison campus, the West Campus District occupies ancestral Ho-Chunk land, a place their nation has called Teejop (day-JOPE) since time immemorial.  The lands to the north of the West Campus District are part of the 300-acre Lakeshore Nature Preserve and are managed to respect the historical and cultural significance of the area as well as serve as a living laboratory for teaching and research needs of campus along with offering a nature experience for campus and community members.

The West Campus District Plan, as with all campus planning efforts, presents both an opportunity to celebrate the Ho-Chunk people and to identify and advance opportunities to create a better future together, in ways that positively impact student well-being, placemaking, and research.

The West Campus District Plan aims to improve accessibility, livability, and resilience by developing the landscape in concert with ecology, current use needs, and its cultural history – a community resource intentionally planned to recognize generations past, developed for generations, now and in the future.

From implementing green infrastructure and considering potential improvements to Willow Creek to expanding a biodiverse tree canopy and addressing stormwater management and water quality, West Campus can be a model for sustainable development at UW–Madison. An inspiring place for all to connect and be connected within a lakeside setting.

This plan is also being developed in concert with the robust and actionable campuswide sustainability goals. UW-Madison recently launched ambitious new sustainability goals including:

  • Procuring 100% renewable energy by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2048 or sooner
  • Achieving a Zero Waste campus by 2040
  • Achieving STARS Gold by 2025

People who work, study, live near, and visit the west side of UW-Madison’s campus tend to come from farther distances and have travel needs that cannot be accommodated by transit. Many people drive to West Campus using personal vehicles, placing a burden on the surrounding road network and parking options in the area. 

The West Campus District Plan included a study of travel patterns into and within the west side of campus and investigated opportunities for improved access via personal vehicle, biking, walking, and transit. The plan also considered strategies to increase the number of parking spaces.

Project Partners

The West Campus District Plan project team partnered with University Research Park and the Perkins & Will consultant team.

The project team also created a District Advisory Committee that was comprised of significant stakeholders and campus leaders in district. They worked closely with the Core Team of this project and provided feedback once per project phase on overall district plan development direction and made recommendations to Core Team.

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University Research Park

In October 2021, the UW Board of Regents approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Board of Regents and University Research Park (URP) to leverage UW-Madison’s real estate assets to their highest and best use in support of the university’s academic, research, and outreach mission.

UW-Madison has a well-established partnership with URP, whose purpose is to acquire and develop real estate property for the benefit of the University. URP has developed approximately one million square feet of commercial and research space and another million square feet of ground leases. URP plays a significant role in supporting industry growth in Madison and provides space for startups affiliated with UW-based research.

Consultant Team

In July 2022, UW-Madison and University Research Park selected Perkins & Will to lead the consultant team for the West Campus District Plan.

Other consultants on the project include:


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What is a district plan?

Much like the campus framework plan, a district plan serves as a tool to establish a continuing framework to guide growth and development of a specific portion of campus, while protecting and enhancing important open spaces as well as historic and cultural landscapes. 

When could we start seeing physical changes in this district?

 Sites that have previously been identified for deconstruction or development are likely the first spaces where physical changes will be seen in the district.

The concept shows development on buildings where there is current programming or activity. What will happen to the programs and activity in the buildings that occupy the parcels where new development is shown?

Any development envisioned throughout the planning process and in the final plan will first require and be preceded by the identification of, and in some cases the development of new, appropriate locations or spaces for existing building uses or occupants. 

How were parking and mobility concerns being incorporated into this planning?

Parking and mobility were a critical focus of our planning and analysis process, especially as we looked at options that would densify the district. We worked with UW-Madison Transportation Services and the transportation consultancy firm, Nelson & Nygaard, to ensure parking and mobility was incorporated into all options.

Part of the mobility strategy was informed by engagement with the City of Madison and other key stakeholders. This included the city’s bus rapid transit initiative which is set to be completed by the end of 2024.

Transportation Services provides various commuter solutions to encourage use of active and alternative transportation methods.

Contact Us

Have a specific question or want to provide feedback? Email us at wcdp@realestate.wisc.edu. One of the Core Team members will respond to your message as soon as possible.