Rec Center offers big benefits, but for whom?

At this year’s elections PSU voters approved a proposal for anew Recreation Center at PSU. It passed by a mere twelve votes.

A total of 912 students voted for it, 900 students against it,and 187 voters decided not to vote on it.

Starting next year students will begin paying a student fee of$24 each quarter, which will escalate to $52 in Fall 2007.

But according to Christy Harper, ASPSU president elect andstudent representative for the recreation center task force, thestudent fee is dependent upon whether the new Rec Center receivesmore money in student building fees.

“We’ll try to delay that student fee for as long aspossible,” she says.

She says that a student committee will be formed, which,according to the Rec Center Initiative Proposal, will beresponsible for “developing, receiving, and recommendingpolicy related to the long-term operation of thefacility.”

The student committee will conduct another student survey,perhaps one with access to pdx mail servers. The committee willalso choose an architecture firm that will conduct user groupforums for feedback and response from students.

This will be a six-month decision process versus the six-weekstudy conducted for the conceptual planning of the Rec Center.

Marla Morin, a freshman who plays volleyball, voted yes for theRec Center. She didn’t know about the student fees, but says themoney has to come from somewhere.

“It would be hard to get the money and budget it forstudent that are coming in later, like to get the money to build itand charge the people that are in the school when its there. Youjust have to look at it as an investment, and it’s good for theschool.”

PSU is estimating 35,000 students will be attending in 2012,compared to 25,000 students now. According to the Rec CenterInitiative Proposal, “As Portland State Universitiesenrollment grows, it will be unable to meet the recreational andwellness needs of students with the current facilities.”

The Peter Stott Center also doesn’t meet the space standards setby the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association and itdoesn’t meet with American with Disabilities Act standards. It alsocan’t support all the students that use it.

Eileen Mueller, of Stott Center operations, says student use ofthe Stott Center has increased, especially since the former lockerroom fee of twenty-one dollars decreased to only five dollars.

Alex Accetta, student recreation coordinator, says that over theyear’s programs at the Stott Center have greatly improved, butspace is often limited.

He believes a new Rec Center will contribute dramatically toimproving the health and lifestyles of students.

Jayson Schmidt, a PSU student, also believes the new Rec Centerwill be good for future PSU students.

“I think it’s great,” he says, “The Stott Centerwas a good place but we need a lot more room. The Rec Center is abig part of Portland States college life and students need a placeto exercise and socialize a little bit.”

Jon Freid, a PSU student, believes students voted no on theproposal for the Rec Center because they would be paying forsomething they wouldn’t be able to use.

“Who wants to pay for something they’re not getting?”he asks.

But graduating students who paid for the Rec Center will begiven an equal amount of free membership according to how much theypaid in Rec Center fees.

Elena Perrone, a student from Sweden, says this proposal doesn’tbenefit her because she’s not from Portland. She won’t be at PSUwhen the Rec Center is finished, and therefore can’t use the freemembership.

“Unfortunately when you build something or propose newthings it’s several years before you get the benefits of any ofthat,” said Morgan Allara, who uses the Stott Center.

Some students, such as Perrone, will never receive thosebenefits.

But according to Harper, “they’re leaving something behindfor their campus and university.”

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Gym use on the rise
Here’s some statistics on the levels of use for the Peter StottCenter, PSU’s current physical recreation building. The years arebased on the university’s fiscal year, and the numbers are based onthe EMS Scheduling System used by the university (please note thatthe 2003-2004 year is not yet complete):

Number of hours reserved and used at the Stott Center
2001-2002 – 33,958
2002-2003 – 36,304
2003-2004 – 38,189

Number of Total Bookings
2001-2002 – 14141
2002-2003 – 16493
2003-2004 – 17976

Number of Student Group Bookings
2001-2002 – 3957
2002-2003 – 5652
2003-2004 – 7086

High month for circuit/weight room uses last year during openrecreation
6580 uses – April
Low month for circuit/weight room uses last year during openrecreation
3265 uses – September

Rec Clubs:
2001-2002 – 11
2002-2003 – 23
2003-2004 – 31