Wright State to consider building new recreation center if students vote to pay for it

Wright State University students are being asked to consider an initiative to add a new standalone recreation center on campus.

A survey went out to students this week to gauge their interest in a new recreation facility and a potential renovation of existing fitness space in the student union, said Daniel Palmer, a WSU senior and student government president.

Wright State does not yet have an estimate of how much such a facility would cost and how much a student fee to fund it would be. But, the survey given to students asks if they would vote for or against a series of proposals with fees ranging from $180 to $260 per semester.

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Which students would pay the fee could be up for debate, due to the possibility that some may pay a fee and then graduate before a new facility is finished and ready to use, said spokesman Seth Bauguess.

The proposal for a standalone recreation center previously came up in the 1990s and in 2014 before most recently emerging as an idea from strategic planning, said Eric Corbitt, director of the WSU student union.

“The administration has supported it. It definitely was marked as one of the big ideas coming out of strategic planning,” Bauguess said. “The president has for sure said she’s backing this.”

The imitative is led by student government, which Palmer said likely will put a referendum to a vote of WSU students in early April. A recreation center could be funded by a student activity fee and membership fees and is not expected to effect the university’s already troubled budget.

Wright State is in the midst of recovering from a financial crisis as it continues to correct years of overspending. In fiscal year 2018, the university reduced spending by around $53 million, according to the school.

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A 20-day faculty strike at Wright State ended just more than a week ago and also is  expected to cost the school in the short term, but no estimate from WSU is available yet.

The survey, Palmer said, also will measure how much students are willing to pay for a new recreation center. The university will have a potential cost and location that students will be able to vote on in the referendum, Palmer said.

Palmer has heard a mix of reaction to the idea of a new recreation center. But, he said students have mostly responded with excitement and interest in the possibility.

Wright State currently has less space and staff dedicated to recreation than any other four-year public universities in Ohio, Palmer said.

“We have gone through a tumultuous time at WSU. I believe that this is one of the first steps forward to bring our campus together,” Palmer said via email. “We must invest in our students to keep them here and draw others to Wright State University.


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