Administrators at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology are considering spending $7 million for a new student recreation center, saying that its 64,500-square-foot rec center is too small. The rec center would be part of the first phase of a 30-year campus plan that was approved last fall by South Dakota's Board of Regents.

Through July 27, the university is accepting feasibility studies from interested engineering firms, the Rapid City (SD) Journal reported. Administrators are proposing paying for construction costs through private donations and an increase in student activity fees.

Student fees would be $43 per credit hour, an increase of $10 per credit hour. The fees could generate $575,000 in the first year. The students approved the plan last year.

“Really, this project was spurred by the students recognizing a need to upgrade our facilities for student recreation,” Tim Henderson, vice president for finance and administration, told the newspaper.

Henderson said construction could start in fall 2013 if plans are approved. The almost 25-year-old King Center, which is the current student wellness center, no longer fills the needs of the students, school officials say. The new facility would add an extra 60,000 to 80,000 square feet.