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UW-Madison eyes southeast campus dorms for Amazon package pickup
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UW-Madison eyes southeast campus dorms for Amazon package pickup

Sellery Hall

Sellery Hall

A deal is in the works for an Amazon package pickup point outside a southeast campus residence hall, University of Wisconsin-Madison officials confirmed Wednesday.

Plans to site the facility for the online retail giant at Sellery Hall, 821 W. Johnson St., emerged after a proposal to open it at the historic Red Gym were scotched last fall in response to opposition from the campus community and beyond.

“We're working on a location at Sellery Hall but the contract and approvals are not finalized,” campus spokeswoman Meredith McGlone said Wednesday in an email.

Plans to use space in the Red Gym, 716 Langdon St., for pick-up of items purchased online that buyers choose to have delivered there were abandoned in October after complaints that it would cramp student organizations housed in the building.

Since the Amazon plan was dropped, the Red Gym space it would have occupied has been remodeled to serve as a Black Cultural Center.

The new site — located near Gordon Dining and Event Center and the University Square complex — is more convenient, Omer Arain, chair of the Associated Students of Madison’s Shared Governance Committee, told The Daily Cardinal.

“In terms of location, I think it’s certainly more preferable for everyone involved compared to the Red Gym,” Arain said. “It’s closer to dorms and generates more traffic."

Arain said that the tentative location for the package pick-up service is near the bike racks outside Gordon.

The UW System Board of Regents approved a five-year contract with Amazon in August that promised at least $100,000 in commissions. No student or faculty shared governance groups were consulted before the contract was brought to the Board of Regents, reportedly because of time constraints.

“I do hold some reservation, not enough to oppose the deal, with a private company being able to utilize and attach itself to a public institution,” Arain said. “But at the same time, they will be hiring students. It brings revenue to the university and will reduce the shipping demands for housing.”

Opposed to a pick-up point, at any campus location, have been Madison small business owners, who said the contract violated UW policy on competition with the private sector.

The relationship with Amazon is “not integral to the fulfillment of the university’s activities,” representatives of three Madison business groups wrote in a letter to Board of Regents president Regina Miller.

They asked Millner to ask the board to reconsider its approval. The board did not do so.

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