Students still paying for REC Center construction
Published: Friday, March 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 1, 2013 00:03
Despite discrepancies in student use, Miami University’s Recreational Sports Center’s (REC Center) construction 19 years ago, along with an increase in student fees, was the result of a student-body vote according to its director, Doug Curry. Prior to the REC Center being built in 1994, students lacked the extensive facility they have now according to Judy Worley, financial of operations at the REC Center.
“It was pretty much just Withrow Court, so yeah, the REC Center is a huge improvement as far as for recreation for students,” Worley said. “There wasn’t anything on this campus that was really like this—this is awesome.”
The approximately $22 million facility came about after students accepted an increase in their general fees in accordance with the cost of funding Curry said.
“Students came to administration and said ‘we want something like this,’ and the administration said ‘sure, but it’s up to you guys to financially pay for this facility,’” Curry said. “So it actually was a student referendum.”
Each student paid $283 for the 2012-2013 fiscal school year according to the Miami University Operating Budget. Whether they utilize the REC Center or not, the $283 is part of their general fees for the auxiliary.
Other auxiliary portions of students’ general fee go to Intercollegiate Athletics, Goggin Ice Center, Student Health Service, Shriver Center, Millet Hall and Transportation Services.
Of these student fees, the REC Center’s is the second highest, following intercollegiate athletics which costs $950 per year according to the budget.
Curry said approximately 70 percent of the student body has visited the REC Center at least once, and it’s the other 30 percent’s option to put their money to use as well.
“It’s very rare, like I said, that a facility is for students anytime they want to use it,” Curry said. “There’s a rule we go by that you as a student have access to any part of the facility any hour we’re open.”
For those who don’t use the REC Center, like junior Meredith Scheppele, the $283 paid per student each year is disgruntling.
“I’m just not a big workout person and plus now I’m off-campus, so it’s a lot farther away and there’s a gym at my apartment, so I’d just rather use that,” Scheppele said. “[The price is] kind of irritating because I wouldn’t really pay for it; it’s really not a huge priority for me.”
According to the Miami University budget, the REC Center brought in $2,166,790 in auxiliary revenue last year, and cost $5,067,009, which the $4,587,383 in student fees helped cover.
Curry said they are always looking for ways to increase revenue so student fees can be reduced.
Some of their options include charging for rentals, fitness classes, and events like swim meets to bring in money.
“Our recommendation was to decrease the dependency on the student fee at the REC Center about $750,000, so we’re doing that over five years,” Curry said. “We’re in our third year.”
Since the 2010-2011 fiscal school year, the student fee has been brought down $342,517—from $306 per student to the current $283. According to first-year Tyler Ko, who goes to the REC Center every day, it’s still too expensive.
“It’s more expensive than what I would pay for a gym,” Ko said. “It’s not really [offering more] because there’s so many people there, it’s way too crowded. If you’re paying that much money, it’s way too small.”
Curry said he is aware of the crowding issue, and solutions are currently being discussed, though they will not be implemented for quite some time.
“We know it’s crowded in there, we know the machines are close together,” Curry said. “That takes either an expansion or we need to get another location and so forth, and we’re always looking into that, such as a potential renovation of Withrow Court.”
Curry said in addition to lowering student fees, the REC Center staff is always looking to improve offerings.
To help do so, a survey is sent out to students twice a year to gather satisfaction rates and input.
“Our goal is to take action on three to five [recommendations from the survey] if they’re consistent,” Curry said. “We try to operate like it’s a business and the students are our customers.”
According to the most recent survey, which was conducted last semester and pooled the responses of 718 participants, the rec center holds an average satisfaction rate of 93.66 percent.