Opinion: Rec Center a Bad Choice for Students

By Tra Friesen, Michael Ceron and Steven Cooper in Opinion

Rending Provided by  LSW Architect

Login to Current Students to Vote.

This week Clark students will vote to approve funding for a $16.3 million expansion to O’Connell Sports Center. If approved, students would pay at least a $4.60 per-credit fee for up to 20 credits starting fall 2015.

The Independent opposes this proposal because it would be the wrong choice for the student body as a whole.

According to the ASCC this expansion would include new basketball courts, an elevated running track, expanded weight and cardio rooms, additional study spaces and a new food vendor. Proposed construction would begin in 2017.

The vote is happening over a year after more than 800 students signed a petition for a new recreational center in Feb. 2014.

Voting will start Monday and ends Friday.

For this referendum ASCC officers have worked hard to counter historically low voter turnout. They partnered with Communications and Marketing to advertise and conduct the vote, handed out brochures and advertised the vote at their events.

The vote will be conducted online to maximize voter turnout. Each student will receive a link through their student email asking them to vote.

ASCC has done a good job looking out for the student’s best interest. They spent over a year researching and planning the proposal, they eliminated the far more expensive option and are promoting the vote to ensure that the decision truly represents the student body.

However, this facility is a luxury that should not be forced on the backs of future Clark students.

The college will take 20 years to pay off the construction loan, according to an ASCC brochure. Children that are born today will likely pay for this building.

Once the fee takes effect in Fall Quarter, a student taking 15 credits would pay an extra $69. A student working a minimum wage job would have to work more than seven hours to cover that cost.

After construction is complete a 15-credit student would pay $89. After the construction loan is paid off in 2035, the student would pay a permanent maintenance fee of $20, which will adjust for inflation.

For comparison, a gym membership at LA Fitness costs $29.95 a month. We should let students choose how to spend their money.

However, the true difference between an LA Fitness pass and a student fee is that people buy passes because they intend to use the facilities. With a student fee, everyone pays—even those who vote against the proposal or have no intention of using the center. Students taking classes at Columbia Tech Center, Washington State University Vancouver and online-only classes through Canvas would also pay the fee. These students are unlikely to ever set foot inside the new facility.

However students vote on this proposal, we want the decision to be representative of the entire student body. The outcome is determined by a simple majority, regardless of how many students vote.

Would you want your younger siblings or or relatives to be burdened with a fee they had no say in?

Vote no on this proposal and save thousands of students from having to pay for something they will never use.

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