SGA considers student fee funding improvements to the Rec Center

Student Government Association is considering a new student fee that would fund an expansion to the Albright Health Center, improving the Recreation Center located in that building.

The Rec Center manages intramural sports, a fitness center and other programs in the community. According to Matt Hackett, director of Campus Recreation, nearly half of NKU’s 15,800 students used the Rec Center in 2010; those students visited the fitness center more than 102,000 times last year.

Kenneth Kline, senior director in NKU’s budget office, proposed a tiered student fee, beginning with the 2011-12 academic year. Under Kline’s plan, students will be charged $5 per credit hour (up to 12 credit hours) beginning in the fall 2011 semester. The fee increases to $10 per credit hour in fall 2012, and could go up to $16 per credit hour in fall 2013.

If passed, a student taking 12 credit hours in fall 2011 will be subjected to a $60 fee, in 2012 a $120 fee and in 2013 up to $192. Kline said the last increase could be less, depending on construction costs.

The fee would continue even after construction has completed, and would provide funding for continued maintenance.

“We’re in dire need of additional space,” said Matt Clarke, a junior communications studies major who works at the Rec Center. “Between 3 and 7 p.m. there’s a three-deep line for machines.”

Clarke said he thinks the fee should be optional for students, so those who don’t use it don’t have to pay.

Amanda Woeste, a senior education major who also works at the Rec Center, said she can see both sides of the argument.

“Ideally, it should be included if you want it to be, but I don’t know how that would work,” Woeste said.

Kline’s proposal outlines an expansion of the current building into what is now Parking Lot S. Michelle Forlenza, chair of the Campus Improvements Committee, said the additional space will allow for more things such as basketball courts and swimming pools and some new features, including a rock-climbing wall.

“A better pool, more fitness classes, more machines … I could go on forever,” Woeste said. “These are the things I hear all the time.”

The proposed fee also allows for intramural fields to be built next to AHC. The intramural fields near University Suites are set to be removed to allow construction of a new connector road.

NKU faculty, staff and alumni also use the Rec Center for free, and the proposed fee does not include any additional charge for them to use the facility. Golden said there have been discussions in previous SGA administrations about charging faculty, and NKU has said they would be willing to provide up to $400,000 to avoid adding a membership fee for faculty, staff and alumni.

Golden said he does not expect the Senate to address faculty usage immediately, but it could be something that is addressed in the future.

The Senate is expected to vote on the proposed fee April 11. SGA President Kevin Golden said they will accept questions and feedback during the open session at the start of their meetings, which begin at 3:30 p.m. each Monday in Student Union, room 104.

If the Senate passes the fee, it must still be approved by the Council for Post-secondary Education, which sets limits on tuition and fees for Kentucky colleges and universities each year. After that, the fee would be presented to the Board of Regents for approval.

Correction: This article incorrectly named Kevin Kline the senior director in NKU’s budget office. His name is Kenneth Kline.

Story by Cassie Stone