Money being ill spent at SDSU

Will Oliver

Will Oliver

The South Dakota Board of Regents recently approved an increase in student activity fees for the expanding SDSU Equestrian team. SDSU hopes to boost numbers of the team from its current 26 members to 60 members at a cost of nearly $14,000 for each rider. With the help of the SDSU Foundation, SDSU plans on building a $3.2 million dollar facility for these future athletes.

Meanwhile, South Dakota State University is falling apart. Cars and trucks are falling into potholes on campus roads daily, never to be seen again. After every rain, professors holding class in basement meeting rooms in the NFA are required to have one life-vest for every student in class. And thermostats in Wenona Hall have difficulty distinguishing a warm day in South Dakota from zero Kelvin.

When it comes to the Athletic Department, the situation proves no better at SDSU. While Division-I athletes are hogging all the facilities at the HPER on a regular basis, lesser athletes (normal people) are left with the Barn. The Barn was a top-notch facility when it was first built in 1918. In fact, it was once the largest facility of its kind in the state. Now, it is just the dustiest, void from custodial measures for the last 88 years. Among its other problems: non-circular basketball hoops, less-than-solid floors, courts often littered with track and field and soccer equipment and a weight room filled with gym equipment best described as “leftovers.”

Luckily, SDSU students are not all that picky. We can deal with subpar facilities without much fuss. A two-inch height difference from one side of a hoop to the other? We just shoot from the kinder side of the court. A high-jump cushion blocking

one corner of the court? We use it to our advantage as an added defender.

But it is tough to make good of these dire situations when the opportunity does not present itself. The Barn, too, is now booked on a regular basis by the basketball teams, track and field team, baseball team, soccer team, dance team and random high-school camps. This overbooking of the Barn leaves almost no time to the average student for recreation.

By no means is the absence of time in either gymnasium the fault of any athletic program. SDSU athletes require facilities to practice and to gel as teammates. But before State goes and sinks millions of dollars into yet another facility and sport that will benefit only those who participate in that sport directly, we should pay attention to other aspects of our university that call for attention. Let us not forget about the average student. We are the heart, soul and guts of SDSU.