The potential for a new recreation center on campus ended Monday when the ASCC Executive Council voted unanimously against putting the project to a student vote.
As previously reported by the Indy, the rec center would have been built with funds from a state loan, to be repaid through memberships and a raise in student fees. The offer expires at the end of the school year, and the ASCC conducted a student–interest survey that ended in early January.
The survey found that around 64 percent of respondents were “moderately” to “extremely” interested in a rec center. On average, students said they were willing to pay $10-30 for quarterly memberships, and $2 per credit in additional student fees. At those rates, the building would have to cost a fraction of the originally planned $16 million (based on a $5 raise in fees).
Only 729 of Clark’s more than 10,000 students took the survey, despite the ASCC’s promotional efforts. Some officers expressed doubt that the result was representative of the overall student body, and worried that the low turnout reflected student apathy.
The survey also gauged interest for different potential features, the most popular being a “gathering space” and “food and drink vendors,” casting further doubt on whether students wanted a new recreation area, or just a place to hang out. According to ASCC President Sarah Moe, to comply with the terms of the loan any new facility would have to focus around student health and wellbeing.
The Executive Council deliberated on the issue for two weeks, weighing several pros and cons of having students vote.
“It would be a great environment for networking, being safe, and holding intramural events,” said Student Relations and Promotions Coordinator Marco Morales.
Finance Director Bill Skates said that since the survey received so little attention, a full vote might give a definitive answer, but there was no guarantee a formal vote would draw more interaction. Ultimately, the officers decided that the cost of conducting the vote – both in money and energy – would outweighed the potential benefits.
“They didn’t even care enough to click [on the survey],” Morales said. “It would be a poor use of time. Instead we could work on projects like the Penguin Pantry and events.”
In order for the prospect of a rec center to be reconsidered, Director of Student Life Sarah Gruhler said, students would now have to start from the beginning: getting signatures on a petition to apply for the loan again.