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Badgers begin summer conditioning in new environment

As the Wisconsin football team opens summer conditioning this week, they are doing so in an entirely new environment. While Camp Randall Stadium was built in 1917, the headquarters of the Badger football players for the next year are brand new.

Construction has begun on the Student Athlete Performance Center at the north end of the stadium, the McClain Center is being remodeled, and new turf is being installed at Camp Randall. A temporary locker room, weight room and auxiliary areas will be used by players and staff for the next 14 months as every Badger student-athlete gets upgraded spaces.


On the second floor of the stadium's northeast end are new locker rooms for players and coaches. The area previously housed women's soccer, softball, staff locker rooms and athletic training offices. The space also housed the football locker rooms before the McClain Center was built in 1988.

IMG_5059.JPGAfter several months of renovations, the new space is the temporary home for the Badgers until the McClain Center renovations are complete. The locker room area is separated into four smaller spaces, which after the football team leaves will be converted into isolated areas for several other teams.

The Badgers also have a new weight room, located under the stands in sections M-P. That area also houses an athletic training room and equipment room. All three departments were displaced with the renovation of the McClain Center. When construction is complete, the athletic training and equipment staff will move back to McClain, while the weight room will expand into the Student Athlete Performance Center.

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In the McClain Center, a new roof is being installed in addition to new turf. Outside the facility, a new exterior will greet fans along an improved pedestrian walkway spanning from the Camp Randall Arch to Breese Terrace.

The soccer, track and softball teams lost their locker rooms temporarily. They all have taken up residence in auxiliary locker rooms under Camp Randall's south stands, where there are several locker rooms used for events at the UW Field House and WIAA state championship football. After construction is complete, they will move back to new locker rooms either in the McClain Center or the second floor of Camp Randall.

The final piece of the relocation puzzle is the Student Athlete Performance Center, which will be the new home to the Academic Services. Every student-athlete will benefit from expanded space and meeting rooms within a new Fetzer Academic Center.

Construction is scheduled to be completed on the entire project in late 2013.

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Women's rowing holds first practice

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The road to the 2012 NCAA Championships began Tuesday morning at 6:15 a.m. as the Wisconsin women's rowing team held its first practice of the 2011-12 season.

After a quick briefing from head coach Bebe Bryans, the team spent the next hour and a half rowing on Lake Mendota, mostly in pairs. Though conditions weren't ideal -- it was a bit chilly and fairly choppy -- the Badgers adapted to the fall-like conditions.

Starting the season off rowing in pairs -- as opposed to eights, which are easier to set -- was a challenge and a great learning experience for the rowers. As they worked on battling the waves crashing against their boat, Bryans reminded the team that "if you can row in this in a pair, you can row in anything."

While many crews across the country have the privilege of rowing on small lakes or rivers with little amounts of wind and waves, Lake Mendota can be tough on rowers. It isn't uncommon for the Badgers to travel to different corners of the lake depending on the wind direction.

Tuesday the wind was coming from the northeast, so the team practiced in University Bay, just west of the Porter Boathouse. Each boat spent time rowing a loop, competing to stay in pace with another boat. As the practice continued, the boats moved together smoother, the set was better and the synergy began to show.

We caught up with coach Bryans after practice: