ArticlePage address: http://www.mnsu.edu/mssa/news/html/campus_rec2.html
Recreation Plan Goes to Student Senate
Current proposal now estimated at $14.652 million to be funded by student fees.
A campus recreation improvement plan that is to be completely funded by student fees was presented to the Minnesota State Student Association Wednesday.
The proposal to upgrade the sporting facilities on the south end of campus was first introduced a year ago with an estimated cost of $21.7 million, all of which was to come from student fees. The current proposal is still to be funded by student fees, but now has an estimated cost of $14.652 million.
Director of Campus Recreation Todd Pfingsten presented updated information on the outdoor recreation plan, and vice president Finance and Administration Rick Straka attended the meeting to assist in answering questions.
One of the major adjustments of the plan was to no longer include building an ice rink, which would have cost about $10.5 million, although it is now part of phase five in a future campus master plan.
A $200,000 addition to the plan is a paved 8,000-foot walking trail around the south tree line.
Some of the improvements of the proposal are to add six tennis courts and upgrade the six existing tennis courts, add lighting areas such as the tennis courts and the women's soccer field, and replace a practice football field a multi-purpose field with synthetic turf and a bubble covering the stadium for year-round use.
Pfingsten said the university has already committed $300,000 to upgrade practice football fields two and three because of safety concerns raised by the Minnesota Vikings.
Straka said that having artificial turf would cost at least as much as maintaining natural turf and that the university has a partnership with the Vikings, but could not elaborate on how the Vikings would contribute to the upgrades of the practice football fields.
Pfingsten said the estimated cost students would incur to pay for this proposal would be an increase in student fees by $65.04 per semester, as compared to $77.70 from the proposal a year ago.
He pointed out that students "haven't paid a penny" in construction of other facilities used by campus recreation.
Straka said that looking at the project as a whole and past funding, students haven't paid anything for the facilities they use for campus recreation.
Straka said administration was aware how this proposal would affect students financially, but that the facilities would be of first-class quality.
"The taxpayers of Minnesota are already paying 40 percent of your education," Straka said. "You're only paying 60 percent."
Outside sources of funding had been researched, Pfingsten said, but those sources were only interested in renting the facilities and also that if another investor was involved in funding they would have some control of usage of space.
Pfingsten cited a survey taken of students last spring about their feelings on the outdoor recreation proposal. Of 938 students, 53 percent were not interested in funding the plan, 47 percent would agree to some degree of student fee funding and about half of the students were open to sharing the facilities with outside investors.
Pfingsten hopes this proposal will come to referendum where the student body would be able to vote if they want to fund this project. He would like the vote to occur this semester and said there is a petition seeking 250 student signatures to bring the issue to vote.
Emmeline Elliott is a Reporter staff writer