Recreational Sports representatives addressed a student government committee in a Monday meeting, with members saying the need for building repairs to outdated facilities are a critical part of their $2 million budget request for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
Rec Sports Interim Director John Horn told Associated Students of Madison Student Services Financial Committee members that the budget Rec Sports is asking for this year only addresses present day concerns. He said it does not do anything to increase space requirements and other long-term improvements.
University of Wisconsin Rec Sports accountant Lisa Learish said this budget would carry a $6 increase in student segregated fees. She said this would bring the total amount per student paid for Rec Sports to $36.36.
SSFC Chair Ellie Bruecker said the $6 increase per student, per semester allows Rec Sports to keep its buildings open and running. She said this will only fix the current issues and does not increase programming space for students because doing so requires major renovations that would require approval from a student referendum.
According to Horn, within the last two years, the state created a 50-50 split, meaning the state will no longer completely fund any major building repairs and UW is now responsible for funding half of any project. He said Rec Sports currently has several projects scheduled for the next five years for which they lack necessary funding.
For example, Horn said the Southeast Recreational Facility needs a $900,000 roof cladding project to stop leaks in the facility when it rains.
“It’s really unfortunate that students are likely going to see that kind of an increase [in segregated fees] without it being very visible because they’re working with really old buildings, buildings that are older than they were ever meant to be,” Bruecker said.
Horn said the 57-year-old Shell, the 49-year-old Natatorium, 49-year-old Nielsen Tennis Stadium and the 30-year-old Southeast Recreational Facility could all also use maintenance upgrades. He added UW is either at or exceeding the 30-year life expectancy of all these buildings.
He also said UW is not even close to the current building standards and construction trends.
“None of our four facilities are a student rec center,” Horn said. “The SERF is designed as a cement tank, the Shell is an aircraft … hangar, the Nat is an academic building and Nielsen Tennis Stadium is an indoor tennis facility. We do not have a student rec center on this campus at this point.”
The NatUP 2010 campaign, which would have expanded the Natatorium and increased students’ segregated fees, was ultimately voted down by students. He said Rec Sports saw a significantly negative response to the referendum.
Horn said if the funding for a new student recreational facility were to pass in the student elections next spring, a new center could be built on campus by 2017.
Learish said in planning for a new recreational center, Rec Sports tried to design it so students now would not have to pay. Therefore, students who would never see the doors open during their time on campus would not see an increase in segregated fees, she added.
SSFC will decide on Rec Sport’s budget next Monday.