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$25 Rec Center expansion fee up for student vote next month


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Courtney Smith/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Students will vote next month on whether to expand the Student Recreation Center and continue paying a $25-per-semester fee for the facilities. If the majority of students vote for the expansion, additions like a 32,000-square-foot weight room, sand volleyball court, multipurpose activity court, leisure pool and climbing wall would be completed by 2009.
By Zach Colick
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, October 31, 2005
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Student Recreation Center administrators will leave the decision of expanding the Rec Center in the hands of students in next month's ballot vote.

Students will continue paying a $25 semester fee for admittance into the Rec Center through 2010 with no plans of extra costs to be associated with the project in hopes of its completion by 2009.

That fee will disappear in 2011 unless students vote "yes" on Nov. 15 and 16 to continue the fee to pay off bonds needed for the proposed expansion.

If the majority of students vote yes and projected funding remains, additions will be constructed like a new 32,000-square-foot weight room, sand volleyball court, multipurpose activity court, leisure pool and climbing wall, said Juliette Moore, director of campus recreation.

If the majority of students vote to not expand the Rec Center, Moore said the scope of the project is going to be reduced.

The idea to expand the center stemmed from an annual jump of more than 6,900 students using the Rec Center since 1994. The increase sparked complaints about long lines to use the weight room and a need for more workout machines, Moore said.

"It's up to the students, but money will dictate whatever is to occur," Moore said. "We're not asking for any additional money. (Students) will make the determination of whether or not to expand for students of the future."

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona is helping to make the vote possible.

Students will be able to go online using Student Link to vote on whether to expand the center. Computers will also be set up around the Student Union Memorial Center or on the UA Mall for students to vote, said Cade Bernsen, student body president.

ASUA will remain neutral throughout the proceedings by ensuring the voting process is fair for everyone and by not favoring any outcome from the election, said Bernsen, a political science senior.

If approved, the expansion would help move administrative offices downstairs. In doing so, the current multipurpose rooms would be eliminated, Moore said.

These rooms are used for general club use, and exercise and activity classes, which Moore said is popular and is used full-time by students from 3 p.m. to midnight.

The plan to expand the size of the pool, which can be heated during the winter months, outweighed the priority of including a multipurpose gym to be used year-round because it would be more difficult later to add a pool rather than basketball courts, Moore said.

"Adding the addition in our mind is a plus for us in order to serve and take care of student's physical fitness needs," Moore said.

The Rec Center building today wouldn't exist without the student support it received in a similar vote in 1989, Moore said, which allowed the construction of the facility and its grand opening in 1990.

"We're hoping students come out and voice their opinion just like in any other election," Moore said.

Bernsen agreed and said regardless of how students vote, it's important they have a say in the future happenings of the university.

The vote was originally slated for this month but was pushed to November, Moore said. The later date was helpful in getting students more informed about the expansion and having the student government initiate the vote, all of which outweighed any timetable, she said.

That sort of cooperation between the Rec Center, ASUA and administration has been great, Bernsen said, and each side has been extremely supportive of each other's goals in having the students be as informed as possible about the proposed expansion.



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