The Regents have approved a $60 million dollar expansion of the recreation center. According to the Daily, the "145,000-square-foot expansion will include two new gymnasiums, more space for fitness equipment, more locker rooms, a jogging track and a climbing wall." As usual, the Regents have approved shelling out millions of dollars on new construction. Seems like they've never met a building project that they don't like. (Next up: Northrop Auditorium) The administration, most likely in an effort to dupe prospective students with glitzy facilities, has prioritized non-instructional spending over giving students a good education. At a time when students in CLA cannot get the classes that they need to graduate--due to deep cuts in the College that have reduced support for filling tenured faculty positions and for hiring TAs for large lecture courses--spending $60 million dollars for recreational facilities seems like a luxury that we can't afford. There is also talk of building a new recreation center on the West Bank.
But no worries, they tell us, because "the building will be financed primarily through the Student Capital Enhancement Fee introduced at the start of the fall 2008 semester. The fee is being phased in over five years and will cap at $75 per student per semester. It is expected to raise about $79 million a year, director of Financial Analysis Lincoln Kallsen said. It will fund the entire project." In other words, whether students want the facility or not, they are going to be shelling out more in student fees, and this on top of ever-rising tuition costs that have resulted in huge debt burdens for our students. Open up your wallets, kids!