A BRIEF REPORT OF THE RECREATIONAL SERVICES COMMITTEE 10/31/03
Generally the situation for recreation services is looking better than it did a few years ago. At that time, the large athletic complex to be built next to the Hawkeye Hall of Fame on Melrose Ave was scheduled to begin with about 1/2 of the 38 million dollar price tag to be paid from Recreational Services Budget (which is basically student funded). That facility was going to include tennis courts, athletic and recreational training and workout facilities, and new swimming pool. The off-campus location was troubling to us on the committee, as it was pretty clear that this project was not being built to serve the recreation-seeking student.
However, the Athletic Department couldn't come up with their share of the project, so everything was put on hold. However, the Kinnick stadium expansion plans were still going ahead, so the tennis courts there were scheduled to be destroyed. As of now, a scaled-down Melrose project is back on track. It will include new tennis courts (indoor and outdoor); indoor turf for field hockey and some storage buildings for Touch the Earth equipment rental for students. This project will cost 12 million. The budget as was presented to us would be that Athletic Department would contribute about 40% for this project, the rest would come from existing student fees. The committee expressed support for this plan.
However the overriding needs of an east-campus comprehensive campus recreation center and a swimming pool (to replace the truly aging fieldhouse facility) still need to be met. So the University is looking at options for doing this. Plans include a large East Campus location (near the IMU possibly). This center would be paid for by adding new student fees (estimates of $80 semester) and also some athletic department contribution. At present student fees for recreational services are minimal or non-existent - most comparable universities (including Iowa State) have mandatory recreational service fees of about 100 dollars). The timeframe is to get approval from regents and begin in Year 2005-2006 approximately.
We think that some vigilance will be required to insure proper athletic department contributions to this new facility and also to insure the plan for an East Campus location is carried out (and not some off-campus location that would serve athletics over students).