The Campus Recreation and Wellness Center made a case for a funds increase at the Student Fees Advisory Committee hearing Wednesday, citing issues such as lack of proper equipment maintenance, lack of staff and overcrowding.
The Recreation Center requested a base budget of $7,891,490 and a base augmentation — a permanent increase of that base budget — of $13,366. During its hearing, the Recreation Center referenced the need for machine replacement as its reason for requesting the funds.
Kim Clark, director of the Recreation Center, hopes to be able to replace the old machines as quickly as possible if given the funds.
“We have removed over 30 pieces of cardio and weight equipment and are working to replace them immediately. Additionally, we are establishing a routine maintenance plan following manufacturer guidelines to be implemented in between quarterly preventative maintenance cycles,” Clark said.
After conducting a thorough fitness equipment audit last summer, the Recreation Center confirmed that 80 percent of its fitness equipment was beyond the manufacturer’s life cycle and in need of replacement, Clark said. Its goal is to turn over all of its fitness equipment within three years.
“We are also working closely with Facilities Management to elevate cleaning standards for the facility as we move forward,” Clark said.
The funding would go toward completing facility, service and program upgrades, including offering good customer service, providing interactive programming with Student Housing and Residential Life and increasing the regional and national reputation of the department, Clark said.
The Recreation Center has been short-staffed, according to its SFAC presentation. Redistribution within the organization has helped the current understaffing on a short-term basis.
“Obviously, when this happens for long periods of time, resources become stretched, and eventually, it can have an impact on programs and services,” Clark said.
Because of growing student enrollment and an increase in students living on campus, Clark anticipated increased use of the Recreation Center, resulting in overcrowding. Political science junior Amanda Williams has noticed the increase in traffic.
“I love the Rec, but sometimes it’s way too crowded and is in serious need of a makeover,” Williams said.
Many of the facility’s activity areas, like the fitness zone, multipurpose rooms and gymnasiums, reach their functional capacity during peak hours.
“As the institution continues to grow and becomes more residential, it will be critical that the Rec Center grows with it in order to meet the student needs,” Clark said.
Overcrowding is also an issue outside, Clark said.
“For an institution this size, we do not have enough outdoor field space to meet the student need. We will be completing some field renovations at the Cullen Field next summer to improve the overall quality of the field, capture an additional field and add lights that will give us more flexibility and allow us to program during the evening,” Clark said.
The SFAC deliberations to determine funding for the Recreation Center begin today. Announcements on the decision will not be made until spring semester.