MSU should reconsider construction of University Recreation Center

Mar 1st, 2010 | By | Category: Editorials, Featured Articles, Opinions

A lot has changed since 2006, when students voted to approve a fee referendum to pay for what was then a renovation of McDonald Arena and which later turned into the soon-to-be-constructed $22.9 million University Recreation Center.

Since that time, the housing market collapsed, the banks went bust, unemployment reached historical levels, and now we’re looking at huge budget shortfalls in higher education.

Missouri’s higher education commissioner warned of potential 15-to-20 percent budget cuts to state universities, possibly leading to university closures, larger class sizes and even elimination of athletic teams.

And yet, we are still chugging along about to build a superfluous facility that the majority of students will probably never use and which will cost untold amounts in the future to properly staff and maintain.

Worse yet, those who actually need it the most – athletic teams – are specifically being barred from using the facility.

The times where we could afford to lounge down the lazy river are over.

Sure, it would be nice to have another pool, an indoor track, a rock climbing wall, more basketball courts, more gym equipment, and, of course, a lazy river.

The good folks in Campus Recreation have done a phenomenal job helping plan and design this project. It looks like a beautiful building with lots of great features.

But not here and not now.

Not in these economic conditions.

This project should be re-evaluated immediately. We should not be stuck constructing a building just because students four years ago voted to approve the project. It might have made sense then, but certainly not now.

Let students vote whether they think this is a good idea going forward given the current economic situation.

Student fees already paid into this project could be diverted to other, more vital projects, or perhaps just held in a fund. When economic conditions and higher education budgets improve, this idea is certainly still worthy of consideration.

Now, though, is not the time.

-Zach Becker

For the Editorial Board

If you are against construction of the University Recreation Center, join our Facebook group, “MSU Students Against Construction of the University Recreation Center.”

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  1. First of all, as a fellow student of Missouri State University, I’d like to say that this article was well-written. Although a lot of thought was put into it, not enough resources were researched in order to make this article accurate and valid.

    Staffing the new Recreation Center will help the economy in this troubling time. Ten new full-time and two Grad Assistant positions will be opening up in order to run the facility, not to mention how many student jobs will be available. In any type of economy the job market would be positively affected by the university’s newest building construction.

    As for the Recreation Center being a burden on the university’s budget, think again. This will be an auxiliary building just like the Plaster Student Union; which means this will not affect the university budget after it is built, as it will have to pay for itself. The money coming into the building, such as memberships and fees to rent certain areas, will pay for the staff in order to make the University Recreation Center a viable asset to this university.

    It is true that the economy is the worst it has been since the Great Depression, but why should that stop us from creating a Recreation Center that students have voted for and are paying to make a reality? According to the records, of the 23,217 students who were enrolled in classes at Missouri State in 2006, 14 percent (2,983) took the survey. Out of that 14 percent, only 5.2 percent (77) said that they use facilities less than once a month. To me, these numbers do not at all say that “students will probably never use” this facility. And if people have a different opinion about the new Recreation Center, they should have voted against it. As we hear all the time, “every vote counts”.

    Athletic teams will not be “barred” from using this facility either. Any student, regardless of athletic classification, of the university will be allowed to use the new Recreation Center. Plus, any student who paid into the Recreation Center fund and graduated from Missouri State will be allowed to use it in accordance to how long they paid into it.

    Because of all of these positive attributions, I believe it is a good idea to bring this much needed University Recreation Center to the campus and the community. In addition, there is need for a bigger weight room and a pool that can be used by students more hours each day. A recreation pool was the number one thing students wanted to be included in the new Recreation Center. Currently the weight room is located on the second floor of Plaster Sports Complex. It is not nearly big enough, nor open enough hours each day to meet the demand of students presently enrolled on the Missouri State campus. Also, the pool at Hammons Students Center can only be used during the following times: Monday – Thursday from11:00am – 2:00pm and 8:00pm – 10:00pm, Friday from 11:00am – 2:00pm, Saturday from 12:00pm -4:00pm, and Sunday from 4:30pm – 10:00pm. The new Recreation Center will have both a pool and a weight room large enough to meet the demand of the students, while being accessible for use almost all day, seven days a week. So after the building has been erected, go ahead and enjoy “another pool, an indoor track, a rock climbing wall, more basketball courts, more gym equipment, and, of course, a lazy river.”