Campus Recreation requests funding reduction from SFAC
In its Friday unit presentation to the Student Fees Advisory Committee, Campus Recreation requested a reduction of upcoming year’s Student Service Fees base allocation to $302,000 from last fiscal year’s $474,000.
Apart from SFAC funding, as an auxiliary service, 86 percent of the Campus Recreation budget comes from a dedicated student fee that brings in just over $8.7 million.
In the beginning of the presentation, Kim Clark, director of Campus Recreation, highlighted the department’s accomplishments in fiscal year 2016.
In FY16, the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center hosted many University events ranging from The Cat’s Back to UH’s Swimming and Diving meets. There was also a warmup match between the U.S. and Montenegro men’s water polo teams.
Going forward, Campus Recreation is proposing a Student Service Fees base allocation that is $171,661 less than previous years due to changes in how some staff will be paid.
“The full-time salaries, benefits, admin fee and a small portion of student wages from our departmental budget that was supporting those business service staff (were) moved,” Clark said.
UH participated in the 2016 NASPA Benchmark, a national campus recreation study which gathers student feedback on the condition and performance of Campus Recreation at their university.
“UH students indicted a significantly higher agreement that their needs were met by Campus Recreation than peers around the country,” Clark said. “That was statistically significant.”
Despite these accomplishments, Clark said that Campus Recreation still has areas that can grow and be successful with continued funding.
“For an institution our size, we simply do not have enough indoor space. We could desperately use more gymnasium space, more fitness space, more multipurpose room space,” Clark said. “We’re severely behind when it comes to green space.”
In comparison to NASPA Benchmark results from three years ago, Clark said, student reports of overcrowding being a barrier to participation have increased from 24 to 31 percent.
“We continue to have to rent space at the Houston Area Sports Park for some of our sport clubs to actually hold their home competitions,” Clark said. “Not only is it costly, but — obviously, as you can imagine — our competitive clubs would love to be playing on campus for their home competitions.”
One of Campus Recreation’s largest undertakings in FY16 was the Fitness Zone Project, which Clark said cost the department about $1 million. The renovation involved replacing the fitness and track flooring, in addition to adding mirrors near the weight machines at the request of students and replacing outdated television sets with flat screens.
At the completion of the Fitness Zone Project, 10 treadmills were replaced at the cost of about $100,000, Clark said.
“Every year, we try to invest back into the facilities,” Clark said, “The average lifespan of an average piece of cardio equipment is three to five years.”
Due to the short lifespan of fitness equipment and the department’s limited financial ability to replace machines each year, there will need to be ongoing, indefinite funding set aside for that purpose.
Clark said Campus Recreation annually spends anywhere from $125,000 to $200,000 replacing this equipment, and about 75 percent of it has been replaced so far.
Though Clark said there were definitely projects that could have used the remaining funds, $4,126 was returned to the reserve at the end of FY16.