Committee talks cost and space needs for possible USU student center

In an effort to bring back a sense of community and give recreation at Utah State room to grow, a committee met with planning officials last week to go over cost and space estimates for a new student recreation center. ASUSU president Tyler Tolson campaigned twice with the rec center on his platform, and now it is taking shape, starting with weekly meetings between Tolson, Student Services and Campus Recreation. “Building a building is really like flipping a U-turn in the Titanic,” Tolson said. It won’t be an ordinary recreation center, Student Services Vice President James Morales said Friday. The goal is to make it a place for students with diverse interests to go. “We’re calling it a fusion building,” Morales said. “Fusion” implies bringing student services, student programming – events planned by students -– and recreation together in one building. Students voted in 2000 to pass a fee increase that would pay for a new recreation center, but it derailed. Morales said competition with new fitness centers around Cache Valley is the reason the building’s progress met a dead end. More people live in the valley now, and Morales said it is past time for a new student recreation center. “We’re probably 15 years behind where we should be,” Morales said. The Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER) building, where most student campus recreation is housed, was built in 1972. The Nelson Fieldhouse, also a building set aside for student recreation, was built in the 1930s. Outdoor Recreation is currently located on the north end of campus by the stadium. Kevin Kobe of the campus recreation department said demands for student recreation are expanding and a newer, more centralized facility is needed. “We’re doing the best with what we have, but we’re kind of handcuffed,” Kobe said. He said campus recreation is excited about a new effort to get this facility going. The HPER was built for 8,000 people, and now Utah State has over 17,000 students. Credit classes take priority, which limits how students can recreate on campus. Tolson defended his plans for a rec center last year during ASUSU presidential debates. The major concern voiced by students is funding, and how much they will have to pay. Tolson said they are looking at the total cost of the building being somewhere around $35 million. The new College of Agriculture building, currently in construction, cost $43 million.

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