Recreation and Health Center awaits approval, then student fees
October 4, 2008 10:49 PM
Students at SF State may have a new recreation and health center available to them in as few as two years if efforts by Associated Students Inc. and university administrators are successful in the next six months.
“We are the largest university in California without a recreation center,” said Peter Koo, executive director of ASI at SF State. Koo said the new building could offer a rock climbing wall, swimming pools, and even an indoor running track.
“But even more important,” Koo said, “it will offer a place for students to hang out and be part of the community.”
More than 700 surveys were handed out to students, asking what features they would most prefer from a center.
“First and foremost, the number one answer from students was that they wanted a recreation center,” said Horace Montgomery, leadership development coordinator for ASI. Montgomery said the most important result from the survey was that students consistently said they would definitely use a recreation center if it were available to them.
“The entire center will be paid for by students,” Koo said. “President Corrigan has approved the plan if ASI can get the money.”
Students will vote on a referendum next March to approve the plan.
The benefit, Koo said, is that the center will be maintained and operated by students, not SF State administrators. Lounges, exercise rooms and an auditorium are almost guaranteed features in the plan.
Tentative planning incorporates a three-story building with a footprint of 50,000 square feet on the site of “the bubble” where temporary study space and computer labs will be housed for the library.
“Students will be responsible for financing,” Koo said, “but they will also be able to develop a recreation center with exactly what they want in it.” Ideally, the building will be available to students 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Koo said, and entertained the possibility that alumni could use the facility, or local residents could access services for a fee.
“At all the other CSU schools our size, students enjoy their campus so much more because students before them had the foresight to build for the future,” Koo said.
Penny Saffold, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said that more students living on campus and a capacity for 5,000 student residents leaves little choice for a quality university.
“We need to provide a program for students after 5 o’clock,” Saffold said. “There are over 40 intramural basketball teams on this campus.” Dozens of groups at SF State have independently formed to pursue sports, academics and projects, Saffold said she was surprised to learn more than 3,000 students were involved in recreation activities at SF State.
Saffold also said the wellness aspect of the center could benefit the school academically, and students financially. Health assistance, and a space for yoga, weight lifting, circuit training and more is statistically linked to improved grades and attendance, Saffold said
The project is very early in its development. Saffold, Montgomery and Koo each emphasized the theoretical status of the plan. Independent agencies will submit bids to develop a plan for ASI and SF State. They will develop proposals outlining a budget, and only then will anyone know the potential cost to students for the plan.
Costs of similar CSU facilities range from a $30 million center at Sonoma State to a $120 million project at Sacramento State.
If students approve the referendum next March, freshmen and possibly sophomores could use the new building before they graduate, according to Koo. The cohesiveness and identity of SF State’s campus needs a center, Koo said, but without student support for the project, nothing will happen.
“People give back to the school because they really enjoyed the time they were there,” Koo said. “They make friends for life, meet future business partners and spouses. The students need space to build a campus spirit and to build connections to the outside world.”
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