Wellness Center plan ready to go to BOR

Faith Moldan

Faith Moldan

Students’ Association’s proposed $1.35 per credit hour increase in General Activity Fees has been amended and raised to $2.75.

SA approved and passed two resolutions at its last meeting, Nov. 21. The first established a committee similar to the one used in the Union. It places the responsibility of the facility operation on students and states students should have control of a facility that they build and operate.

SA President Ryan Brunner said about the committee, “Students will have input and work with the money.”

The second resolution increased the GAF to $2.75, effective in 2007. The increase would place SDSU in the middle of the six Board of Regent schools. With a GAF of $21.30, SDSU has a smaller fee than both Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota. One dollar of that increase will go towards the cost of operation for the facility and the other $1.75 is part of a 25-year bond issue.

Mitch Fargen, senator at large, said, “Think what you’re giving back to campus.”

With an average of 16 credits each semester, students would pay $88 a year for the Wellness Center.

Brunner said, “The people who pay for it will use it. It will be open during games and exclusively for student use.”

Members of the community will be allowed access, as the city is donating half a million dollars to the project.

The concept of a new Wellness Center is not new to SDSU, as plans have been stalled for 13 years. A consultant in 1993 conducted a study of SDSU’s needs and concluded the existing facilities no longer meet the demands of the various programs that are the responsibility of the Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Department (HPER). The Board of Regents and South Dakota Legislature approved plans for construction in 1994, but nothing came of this approval. The project was modified four years later. Approval of this plan expired in 2001. Ten years after the original approval, the BOR and Legislature approved a revised project for construction. The revised plan was submitted to the 2005 Legislature, but was tabled.

With the project tabled and $6.1 million in funds available, SA looked into the option of increasing GAF. Increased enrollment has increased the number of scheduling conflicts between groups such as intramurals, varsity athletics, club sports, students and members of the community using the Physical Education Center (PEC) and Intramural Building.

Other numbers at SDSU have jumped as well. Participation numbers for intramurals increased by 16 percent last year, and may do the same this year. Participation in club sports such as hockey, cricket and rugby has increased 15 percent. Numbers for Student Health and Counseling Services, which will be included in the new building, are on the rise in the number of medical and counseling visits and prescriptions dispensed. Last year, nearly 105,000 students used the equipment at the Wellness Center. Numbers are on pace to do the same this year.

The increased participation does not fit in well with the jam-packed schedule at the PEC and Intramural building. Although West Hall was built as a hospital, it is no longer suited to serve as Student Health Services clinic.

SA is currently in a signature campaign. Students who want to sign the petition can in the SA office, and those who signed the petition for the $1.35 increase and no longer want their names on it should contact the SA office. Representatives from SA will present the proposal to the BOR Dec. 15.