Without the gift, the space would not have been included in the project. The other $25.5 million will come from student segregated fees. In 2019, students voted in a Stout Student Association advisory referendum to approve raising fees for the project. It includes:
- A new, larger cardio and strength-training facility, 10,000 square feet, on the west side for students, next to the Pankowski gathering area
- Renovating the old swimming pool, which was closed in 2018, and replacing it with a multiuse gym for recreation
- Expanded and upgraded locker rooms for students
- Moving the Athletics weight room to the former student fitness facility
- Creating multiuse studio spaces in the current Athletics weight room.
The design process is underway. UW-Stout will seek formal approval for the renovation in the 2025-27 state budget. No additional state funding is needed, but inclusion in the budget allows UW-Stout to proceed with the project.
Construction could begin in 2026 and finish in 2027, according to Justin Utpadel, UW-Stout senior facilities officer.
Including the Pankowskis’ gift, private support for the project totals $7.3 million.
The north end of the building, including Johnson Fieldhouse, opened in 1965, when the university had less than half the students it does today. It was the first complete Athletics and recreation facility in school history, replacing a 1901 building called the School of Physical Culture that was east of Bowman Hall.
In 1989 a major addition to the south end of the building included the Multipurpose Room indoor track. Minor additions followed in 1997 and 2000.