JOPLIN, MO -- Some students at Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) have asked fellow students to sign a petition to repeal a $150 per semester student fee increase that would help pay for a student recreation center.

Malachi Blaxton, a junior from Tuttle, OK, tells The Joplin (MO) Globe that he’s not opposed to the student rec center, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2009. Rather, Blaxton has an issue with the fee increase, which will begin this fall, and questions how much students will use the rec center. Blaxton hoped to get between 500 and 1,000 signatures and planned to present them to President Bruce Speck and the MSSU Board of Governors later this month, the newspaper reported.

Other students support the fee and the rec center. Adam Hancock, a senior and a member of the MSSU Student Senate, tells the newspaper that students have had a voice in the project throughout the process. Hancock says surveys have been conducted, and the Student Senate has been active in the rec center’s development.

Rod Surber, a spokesperson for the university, says a student survey showed overwhelming support for the rec center, which is expected to cost between $14 million and $16 million. Surber tells the newspaper that the Student Senate passed a resolution in November 2004 asking the board to make the rec center a priority. Almost a year later, the Student Senate approved a resolution asking the board to proceed with the project, the newspaper reported.

The 65,000-square-foot rec center will include a gymnasium with three basketball courts, weight machines and exercise equipment, a theater, a running track, a health clinic, meeting rooms and offices. The university plans to borrow $14 million to finance construction with student fees used to finance the bonds, the newspaper reported.