The cost-free referendum for additions to the Student Recreation Center will take place March 12-14, 2012. The expanded recreation center will provide about 94,000 square feet of space for open recreation, intramural sports, and wellness education. All currently enrolled students will be able to use the facility.
Students will be charged $19.25 per credit hour per semester starting in 2014, since buildings such as the Student Recreation Center and the Millennium Student Center cannot be funded by state general fund dollars.
New amenities include a three-court gymnasium; an elevated track; 14,000 square feet of weight and fitness space; four multi-purpose rooms for activities such as spinning and yoga; a six-lane lap pool (25 yards) with whirlpool; a lounge/game room; a juice bar; a locker room; a sauna; an administrative suite for facility staff and student workers and a wellness center.
“Past, present and future students – those that have taken tours of UMSL – often comment on the need for more recreational opportunities for students who commute to or live on campus,” said Chancellor Tom George. “They point out the benefits derived from rec centers located on other campuses—such as providing students with more outlets for healthy activities, stress relief and interaction with follow classmates. So, from that standpoint, I want to commend our student leadership for bringing this important issue to the entire student body for consideration.”
“Students should support ‘Check the Rec’ because it gives them a chance to decide how their campus grows and progresses,” said Chancellor Thomas, media relations subcommittee chair. “It gives students the option to mold the future of the University in a constructive and positive way. The Recreation center would create a central hub in which students could hold various events, promote health awareness and well-being.”
Others are not altogether excited for the changes, though. “I do not agree with an increase in fees specifically for the Student Recreation Center,” said Erick McLaughlin, senior, Spanish. “If it were used by an overwhelming majority of students, it might make more sense, but given the current situation, I would be against the fee.”
“I do not agree with an increase in fees for the rec center,” said Michael Keleher, junior, Psychology. “I feel I pay enough already in nonresident tuition. It would be a great idea if UMSL had more students on campus. That is not the case, so I would be against a $19.25 per credit hour fee.”
Student Government Association President Jericah Selby disagrees with McLaughlin and Keleher. “The cost of the fee would result not only in a great facility, but would help establish our growing campus culture and help recruit and retain students at UMSL,” Selby said.
George and Thomas both agree that the additions to the recreation center will bring in a larger freshman class.
“I do believe that this will bring a larger incoming freshman class,” Thomas said. “Our campus is the only one in the UM System that has not built a new recreation center or renovated their current recreation center. That may not seem important, but when we are in a competition with our universities all over the country in providing the most fulfilling college experience, that is a serious handicap. With the recreation center, we can create a great UMSL community in which to bring incoming freshmen.”
“Yes, I think it will encourage more individuals to consider UMSL,” George said. “We have an outstanding educational faculty, comprehensive internship connections and an extensive alumni network in the region. The rec center would complement those assets well.”
The project design is expected take 9 to12 months. Construction will take 15 to 18 months. The building is projected to open in the 2014-15 academic year.
“My expectation is to have a good voter turnout,” Selby said. “What I hope for is that students see this initiative as a way to take part in their student governing process. I expect students to want to voice their opinions and vote in March. I want students to have a say in the future of their institution and impact the lives of future UMSL Tritons.”
By Angela Acton, staff writer for The Current.