Chemistry Building Project


Construction slated to begin in 2018

Design work is now well under way. Help us complete the full project as originally envisioned by making a gift to the Chemistry Building Project.

  External building addition rendering, shown along University Ave.  

What is the Chemistry Building Project?

The Chemistry Building Project is a two-phase project. The first phase involves the addition of a new eight-story tower that will house lecture halls, an information commons, offices, teaching laboratories, and group write-up spaces for undergraduate teaching labs. The second phase involves renovations to the existing basement, first floor, and second floor of the Daniels wing of the Chemistry Building. These floors house teaching laboratories, classrooms, and undergraduate student services spaces.

Why is this project important?

By the time they graduate, 55 percent of undergraduates have taken a chemistry class at UW-Madison. And as more students pursue STEM majors and health professions, chemistry has come to play an increasingly important role as a pathway into these fields. Over the last 20 years, chemistry course enrollments have soared, and the Department of Chemistry now experiences an acute need for renovated and additional instructional space to help accommodate these high levels of demand.

What’s more, since two of the introductory chemistry classes (103 and 104) are the courses with the highest enrollments on campus, the ability to better educate the large number of students in these courses will help students stay on track as they work to graduate in a timely manner.

To maximize the use of existing space, undergraduate labs run from 7:45 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. on weekdays. The department has had to cut lab frequency for 103 from weekly to every other week. Even so, the current 1960s-era teaching labs are inadequate for modern approaches to teaching and the safety practices that would be necessary to implement these modern experiments.

What is the state's role in the project?

In 2012, UW System recognized the importance of renovating existing undergraduate teaching labs in the Chemistry Building and adding a new instructional wing. In March 2013, the Governor’s office recommended UW-Madison move forward with the Chemistry Building Project's design phase. As part of the 2015-17 State of Wisconsin capital budget passed in July 2015, the state approved $86.2 million — 80 percent of the funding requested  toward the project.

The Chemistry Building Project will help us:

  • Enhance degree programs important to the Wisconsin economy, such as medicine, biotechnology, engineering, chemical and biological science, and health sciences
  • Accommodate greatly increased student demand for courses in STEM disciplines
  • Incorporate modern safety practices and safety training
  • Implement modern instructional techniques

Project features include:

  • Expanded and renovated general chemistry labs
  • New organic, analytical, physical and advanced synthesis labs
  • New lecture rooms and a flexible active learning classroom
  • Student support space for undergraduate advising
  • Transformation of the Chemistry Library into an information commons
  • Crucial upgrades to existing air supply and exhaust systems

Background information


  • View initial renderings of the instructional addition and renovation


New Building Lobby

ABOVE: New first-floor lobby with informal interaction space.