A line of legs in motion can be seen through the top windows outside the pool area of the Rec Center on CU’s campus.
This space overlooking the pool was converted from audience seating to offer more elliptical machines, such as Nordictrack 1750 vs Bowflex t10, and cardio spaces for Rec Center users. The move was just one of the adjustments made to help adapt the facility to patrons’ needs without making additions since 1990, former CU Recreation Services Associate Director John Meyer said.
“We’ve put our best saddle on a dinosaur,” Meyer said.
Meyer and Cheryl Kent, current director of recreation services, however, both said the time has come to really evaluate the space, which is far behind the statistics of other Big 12 facilities, in the context of what students want and need.
A committee has been formed to help direct the research process and any later action regarding the Recreation Center Improvement Project. Currently, the 32 members along with members of the Recreation Facility Enhancement Steering Committee, which is meant to give students a place to voice opinions, are working through survey processes and data with Brailsford & Dunlavey, a firm that has worked on renovation and analysis projects at universities nationwide.
The first round of surveying had 1,319 respondents and gauged the general need of students and how important change is to them, Kent said. The second survey will be out in the next two weeks and will offer some estimates of square footages, but not a design. A final survey will include more specifics, which will be followed by a proposal, she said.
“We try to get the students, through the surveys, to prioritize their needs, and also get a feel for the tolerance for student fees,” Kent said.
One survey result shows 53 percent of respondents think new facilities should be a “high” or “very high” priority for CU, while 13 percent think it should be “low” or “very low.” Of that 13 percent, 77 percent said they think this because “CU has more pressing priorities.”
“I think that’s the piece where people don’t understand where the funding is coming from,” Kent said of the 77 percent.
In fact, many students have said they are largely unaware of the funding process.
As a cost center under the jurisdiction of UCSU, the majority of funding for the Rec Center comes from student fees. In fact, it accounts for about 75 percent, Kent said. The additional 25 percent comes from self-generated income from things such as membership fees.
Aside from misconceptions concerning funding, another obstacle the committees face during this developmental period is that of getting feedback from as many students as possible.
Some students are completely unaware that renovations are being discussed, said Bruce Deakyne, a 21-year-old junior electrical and computer engineering major who was elected to UCSU’s Rec Board in March 2009.
“You know I’ll talk to people, just ask my friends, ‘Have you heard about this project?’ And it’s about 50/50,” Deakyne said.
Deakyne, Meyer and Kent all said their main goal is to hear as many opinions as possible so they can develop a plan that fits student needs and budget, especially in today’s economy.
“We know students are struggling,” Kent said. “Some students are struggling more than others.”
Still, Kent said that building in this economy would give students a better value for their dollar.
She said the estimated cost will not be available until further student input is gathered, probably not until next fall, and the project, if passed, would be paid for by revenue bonds.
Meyer said they are conscious of the nine percent increase in tuition students are already facing, but said money is one of the complicated issues that need to be addressed.
“The money component is confusing for a lot of people, because they think, ‘I don’t want to pay anymore,’” Meyer said. “I’d like a Lexus, but I’d like to pay what I can get a 1978 orange Gremlin with a brown door for.”
Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Molly Maher at Maherm@colorado.edu.