Rec Center expansion unnecessary

Arizona Daily Wildcat
August 25, 2005

It is with little reserve that we oppose the Student Recreation Center's latest attempt to expand its facilities using student subsidies. Worthy as student fitness may be, the notion of prolonging a fee to expand the Rec Center is preposterous in light of the more pressing issues that have come to confront our cash-strapped university.

The latest Rec Center proposal, which is partially touted as a response to lengthy wait times, would among other things, replace the already impressive 12,000-square-foot weight room with a 32,000-square-foot facility by 2009.

To pay for the expansion, students would continue to pay a yearly Rec Center fee of $50 after 2010, when the original building costs will have been paid off and the fee was set to expire.

Given our university's fiscal predicament, the Rec Center proposal should not escape the method of scrutiny that similar proposals must endure - necessity vs. luxury. Sadly, in our current state of financial straits, the proposal fails in this respect.

When it comes to the issue of necessity, it seems fairly obvious that student concerns more often relate to their academic woes than to the grandeur of their recreational facilities, and that any attempt at increasing (or prolonging) student fees should be tailored to address the most pressing of concerns.

Simply put, the Rec Center does not enjoy the broad appeal that would justify a campus-wide student fee; for better or worse, its patrons represent a comparatively narrow demographic.

As such, "user fees" for the students, faculty and staff that actually utilize all that the Rec Center has to offer (and that presumably stand to benefit the most from an expansion) seem more appropriate than extending the lifespan of a fee that is already adding to the weight of steadily ascendant financial burdens.

We are not inherently opposed to student fees; indeed, we recognize the merit of tuition increases that aim to better our academic experience. Ultimately though, if we are to hope for smaller classes and more talented professors, for a nationally respected university and a prestigious degree, we just might have to endure a longer wait in the weight line.

Opinions Board

Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Caitlin Hall, Ryan Johnson, Damion LeeNatali, Aaron Mackey and Mike Morefield.