Students Reject $16.3 Million Rec Center

By Danny Tomko in News

Students have rejected the proposed $16.3 expansion to O’Connell Sports Center according to an ASCC press release.

Less than 10 percent of the student population, 983, voted in the online referendum which was conducted April 13-17. Sixty-two percent of voters opposed the facility.

The decision comes more than a year after a group of students submitted an 800-student petition to the Associated Students of Clark College for a stand-alone recreation facility.

The proposed facility would have added 27,420 square feet to the existing facility and included new basketball courts, an elevated running track, expanded weight and cardio rooms, student spaces and a new food vendor.

If approved students would have paid at least a $4.60 per-credit fee for up to 20 credits starting fall quarter.

According to ASCC Student Relations & Promotions Coordinator Anna Evanson, the vote was a success despite its outcome. “We had a great turnout, we were close to a thousand voters. We weren’t expecting more than 300 or 500,” Evanson said. “I’m really glad that students actually voted, and that they care about what happens with their school.”

As for the outcome of the vote, there were mixed opinions across the campus. ASCC President Emmah Ferguson was happy with the outcome. “As a student I am happy,” Ferguson Said. “I think this was an idea that was appealing in theory but in practice it could have some not so great impact on students.”

Fergusons main concern was the increased cost for students. “We were looking at nearly 300 dollars a year increase in tuition.” Ferguson said “That’s a lot more than most students at this college can handle, and I don’t think the benefits outweigh the cost.”

Clark Athletic Director Anne Walker was disappointed in the outcome. “I’m not overly surprised at the outcome, my initial reaction is that people were not really well informed as to what it was or why it came about,” Walker said. “This all came about because students wanted a place to gather, a place where they could go to the cafe or run around a track.”

Walker was concerned that the association with Athletics may have created a misconception about the purpose of the construction. “This has absolutely nothing to do with the athletic department,” Walker said. “This was a student led initiative.”

For now, this is the end of the project. “This request came from students, we were doing this to meet the needs of the students.” Ferguson said. “If the vote reflects that the students don’t actually want that, then it’s our job to take that into account.”

According to Evanson though, if students wanted to revive the project at a later date, they have the power. “It’s going to go in the ‘Legacy File’ and if another team wants to revive it, they can,” Evanson said. “I would be happy to see more social and athletic areas available on campus.”

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