The Student Fee Review Board heard proposals for student fee increases from entities university-wide ranging from nil to $9.75 for Fiscal Year 2009 Monday night, paying special attention to an possible additional $35 increase to expand the Recreation Center.
Apart from the Rec. Center proposal, students will pay an overall total of $29.65 more next semester, bringing the final amount to $568.96, according to the proposal.
The Athletics Department, which signed a $700,000 contract for a new head football coach last semester and agreed to nearly $1 million in severance pay for Sonny Lubick over the next two years, didn’t ask for an increase.
Tony Frank, senior vice president of Academic Affairs, said the department didn’t request an increase because it had sufficient surplus from fee increases in years past.
The largest request beside Campus Recreation came from Hartshorn Health Services for $9.75. Hartshorn plans to hire a staff psychiatrist to offset demand of psychiatric care.
SFRB president Trevor Trout views the proposed Rec. Center expansion as a positive move providing the project remains monetarily efficient and student-oriented.
“As long as the Recreation Center expansion is an effective and appropriate use of student fees, and encompasses meaningful and representative student feedback throughout the entire process, then I’m totally for it,” Trout said.
At a Senate meeting on Jan. 30, Associated Student of CSU Sen. Taylor Smoot questioned the necessity of an expansion in relation to other facilities on campus that might benefit from more attention, such as the Clark Building.
“It’s a traffic jam,” Smoot said. “I go to my classrooms and there’s stained floors, the technology’s not up-to-date, the walls are terrible.”
But of 1,500 students who responded to a Web survey conducted by Campus Recreation, 75 percent were in favor of the project.
Freshman construction management major Vance Connolly said the $30-$35 paid by students per semester for the expansion is significantly less than what would be paid to a private health center.
“For a gym membership you are going to pay that much a month,” Connolly said.
Sen. C.J. English, a junior biochemistry major, who supports the proposal, said the expansion would especially benefit those students who are uncomfortable being shoulder-to-shoulder with other students in the current facility or have afternoon workout schedules.
“I don’t even like going in the afternoon because it’s hard getting the weight equipment that I want,” English said. “So sometimes I don’t even go.”
Less active users of the Rec. Center are also on board with the expansion. Misha Paysinger, a freshman equine science major, is excited by the prospect of an improved facility.
“I didn’t really go at all last semester but I’m starting to go a couple times a week,” Paysinger said, “An indoor climbing wall? That would rock, I think it’s a great idea.”
Campus Recreation Director Dr. Judy Muenchow is optimistic about the project’s outlook and believes that a decision either for or against the renovation should be decided by the student body.
“I feel very comfortable that I have provided as much information and communicated as much as I could,” Muenchow said, “so it’s really where it should be, with the students.”
However, Muenchow has weighed the consequences of student rejection of the proposal and affirms that there will still be projects to fund and accomplish in order for the Rec. Center to be at maximum quality and efficiency.
“If the new addition doesn’t go forward, we still need a new roof (and) we have problems with plumbing and electricity,” Muenchow said.
Taking into account President Penley’s stretch goals and the idea of an enhanced student experience, English said the renovation is a practical addition to the university.
“Because we are limited in our options of how to better campus,” said English, “I think that this would be a great way to recruit new students in the future.”
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