Students divided on ENMU rec center

Are students willing to pay a $3.33 more per credit hour with student fees to help fund a recreation center on campus?

The plans of adding a rec. center on campus have been in the works, with ENMU Chancellor Jeff Elwell leading the charge.

“When I came to Eastern, the rec. center is one of two things that we don’t have that our peers have. West Texas University has a rec. center and a visitor’s center. The rec. center just seemed like a better idea to do first,” Elwell said.

Elwell said the new facility will be an addition to the natatorium that is located near the center of campus. The rec. center will be a five-minute walk from anywhere on campus and allow students to stay on campus while still being able to work out.

“I’m hoping the addition will encourage more students to use the pool; a lot of people don’t even know it’s there,” said Elwell.

But the student body seems to be almost evenly split on the issue, with the potential new facility barely making the cut with votes.

During the Homecoming 2018 elections, students were asked whether they would be willing to pay an increase in student fees to help fund the addition of the recreational center to the Natatorium.

The results from the election showed that 53.9 percent of students voted yes to agreeing to increase fees, while 46.10 percent voted no.

“The expansion of the campus is a great idea; I believe our campus is thriving and a recreation center would be a great addition to the university,” wrote one student in their commentary.

“I believe there are other buildings that could use renovations and other amenities that we could benefit from as a whole. I believe a recreation center on campus would benefit a small portion of the student body. Students do not come to ENMU for the recreational opportunities,” wrote another student.

The rec. center will include two multi-sport courts for volleyball, basketball, indoor soccer and more such as an elevated “floating” track that will allow people to run or walk indoors. The facility will also includea rock wall, free weight area, cardio machines, two rooms that could be for multi-use areas such as yoga.

There will also be restrooms that include a shower facility that will allow students to take in their personal shower items, so they can shower before having to go to class. Lockers will be available to store personal items free of charge for students. There won’t be lockers for every student but enough to accommodate a majority, said Elwell.

A checkout desk will be available to checkout sports equipment, such as basketballs, weight gloves, volleyballs, and more. Seating areas will be in the building as well to give students another spot around campus to hangout in.

Elwell said there are also plans for some kind of “Jamba Juice” concession that will serve items like smoothies, protein bars, and healthier snacks.

A new sound system will be included as well, so music can be played throughout the workout facility.

Elwell said the earliest that the facility could be opening is in December of 2020, which is just a proposed time.

The facility will be open 362 days a year, excluding Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Hours may be limited around these times as many students aren’t on campus, but the facility will be available.

The hours of operation will run 6-11 p.m., which will extend the hours, allowing more workout time for students.

Elwell said he is unsure if the facility will be open to the public, because he wants to make sure that students are accommodated first, and he doesn’t want to overcrowd the facility. Faculty and staff will have the opportunity to use the facility as well with a fee.

According to Elwell, the estimated value of the renovation is going to cost around $11.9 million. The funding for the renovation will come from student fees, state appropriations, donors, and alumni.

All the plans in mind are just ideas of what could be, said Elwell. None of the plans are set into stone, and he is open to more ideas that can add to the facility.

“I think this will be an exciting addition to our campus. It’ll help recruit more students, entertain them, and give students more stuff to do on campus. I’d like to keep more students on campus,” said Elwell.

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