SPRINGFIELD, MO — Convincing students to take on additional fees for new recreation center construction is becoming more difficult for some universities during the recession.
A referendum for a new rec center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was voted down last month by students after the school launched a $31,000 campaign to lobby in favor of the project. Nearly 14,000 students turned out to vote on the proposal to raise student fees by $54 per semester for the next 30 years. The proposed $60 million renovation project would have doubled the size of The Nat, one of the university's existing gyms.
Despite criticism from students that a new rec center is not fiscally responsible now, Missouri State University (MSU) broke ground on a $30 million student recreation center in April.
In October 2006, MSU students voted to support fees to construct a new rec center at an estimated cost of$23 million. The current student fee is $50 per semester for full-time students, but will go up to $80 once the center opens.
“Economic circumstances have changed drastically since this project was originally conceived in 2006,” Zach Becker, an MSU graduate, told the MSU Board of Governors on April 9. Becker started a Facebook page to voice opposition to the project that gained more than 229 fans.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, the MSU Board of Governors encouraged the crowd to look to the future, rather than focus on the current economy.