Survey asks if students want a recreation center

Vice President of Student Affairs Jonathan Eldridge gave a presentation on the proposed Wellness Recreation Center to the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University during their Senate meeting Tuesday night.

Vice President of Student Affairs Jonathan Eldridge gave a presentation on the proposed Wellness Recreation Center to the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University during their Senate meeting Tuesday night.

Southern Oregon University may see a new Recreation Wellness Center in the next few years.

A survey was sent out to 4,686 students this summer, offering three different options for a potential Recreation Wellness Center and asking for student feedback on their preferred option. The most popular option, currently named “Option B,” received the most positive feedback, receiving approximately 67 percent of students’ support. This surpassed the goal of 60 percent students support, a guideline presented by consultants to determine if the project would be worth pursuing or not.

Option B is a 52,000 square foot recreational space that would provide a variety of athletic and recreational opportunities. The idea for such an environment came from students who expressed desires to have a recreation center similar to the one at the University of Oregon.

“I have seen the difference a facility like this can make on the quality of the student experience,” said Jonathan Eldridge, vice president of Student Affairs, via email. “Being healthy, both physically and emotionally, is an integral part of being a successful student. A facility such as this can help students be more successful, find balance, and get and stay healthy.”

“It’s not just about working out,” he added. “It’s about meditation, yoga, rock climbing, pick-up games – all those things that can add to overall wellbeing and do so conveniently and affordably.”

Based on a conservative estimate, Option B would cost students between $85 and $95 per term, although this number has the potential to be lowered as project development continues. All together the Wellness Recreation Center is projected to cost $19.1 million, but this number also has the potential to decrease.

Now that enough interest in the project has been expressed by students, plans for the Wellness Recreation Center must be organized and approved up to the state level.

“The next step is to convene a working group that will conduct the work necessary to get a referendum on the ballot for students to vote on,” said Eldridge. “This work will include reviewing the survey data, conducting focus groups, inviting additional input from the student body on a number of questions relating to the scope and nature of the project, etc.”

As the project continues in development, students are asked to continue their support. So far 285 students have provided email addresses expressing interest in continuing participation.

“They will be invited to give input, feedback, etc. as the work group begins their work,” said Eldridge.

If all goes smoothly, the Wellness Recreation Center could become a reality by 2014 at the earliest.

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