The Student Government Association designated the renovation of the Campus Recreation Center their number one priority for the 2002-2003 academic year, at their Sept. 9 meeting. By unanimous vote, the SGA agreed to use funds from the Student Union Reserve Fund to finance the project.
The Student Union Reserve Fund was initiated over 10 years ago to provide a new student union on campus, but at an estimated cost of $27 million, the university needs state funds to help finance the project.
According to Katie Herschede, SGA president, “a new student union is an NKU and student priority, but, it is not a state priority.”
Herschede believes it will be at least four years before a new university center will be underway.
“Students have been paying into the Student Union Reserve Fund for over a decade with no return on investment,” said Herschede.
The renovation of the fitness center will provide a tangible and immediate return on investment for students. “The fitness center gives immediate gratification at only one year of fees,” Herschede said.
The SGA approved up to $400,000 of the current $2.2 million reserve to fund the renovations. It is a small amount of money compared to the great benefits the renovation will provide for the students, faculty, staff, alumni and their families, Herschede said.
The CRC, which is located in the Albright Health Center, is available for use to students and faculty at no charge. However, many students pay $40 or more for gym memberships off campus simply because the CRC is not adequate, according to Herschede.
The SGA “has heard over and over from students that they want the fitness center renovated…(it is) desperately needed,” Herschede said.
The CRC was built in 1984 and still has the original nautilus machines. The equipment is “severely out of date,” according to Steve Tribble, director of campus recreation.
The renovations will include creating a large weight room by tearing down a wall that separates the current weight room from a multi-purpose room. The new weight room will expand from the current 950 sq. feet to over 4,000 sq. feet and contain state-of-the-art equipment.
The weight room is the centerpiece and the draw for students, so it needs to have sufficient space, Tribble said.
Three of the current six racketball courts will be made into a new multi-purpose room with basketball courts, a gymnastic area and a climbing wall.
“It will be a much more desirable place to be,” Tribble said.
In addition to providing an inviting workout space, the renovation will allow the health, fitness and physical education departments to offer new and diverse courses such as, cardio and climbing classes.
While students and faculty need only swipe their All Card to gain admittance, alumni and family members pay membership fees to utilize the fitness area. The cost of membership ranges from $84 to $175 and membership is expected to increase “big time” once the renovations are complete, Tribble said.
According to Herschede, a renovated center will increase the revenue for the university as well as, “keep alumni coming back to campus.”
The SGA believes the renovation will encourage more alumni to utilize the facility which, in turn, will create stronger ties to alumni, increase public engagement.
The proposal has been approved by the SGA. Next, it will go through the Administrative Council, University Space Committee and, the Board of Regents for approval.
According to Tribble, they hope to have the project underway within then next 12-18 months. Once it is has final approval, forums will be held to get student input.