Students at the University of Missouri–St. Louis want a new recreation and wellness center and are willing to pay more in student fees to make it happen.

A student referendum on the issue has passed with overwhelming support. Overall, 1,543 students voted during the four-day campaign that stretched from March 12 through March 15. Of those votes, 1013 were in support of the new rec.

“I’m just really proud to be an UMSL student. This is great,” said Jericah Selby a senior and president of the Student Government Association at UMSL.

She’s thrilled with the voter turnout, which saw 500 votes come in on the last day of the campaign alone.

“It was really encouraging to know that students got out and really heard about this issue and really participated in the initiative,” she said.

The referendum asked student voters to approve a fee of $19.25 per credit hour up to 12 credit hours per fall and spring semester and six credit hours in the summer. The money will be used to fund the new center, which would be built just south of the Millennium Student Center.

The cost of the building is approximately $30 million. It would have approximately 94,000 square feet and include a three-court gymnasium, elevated track, weight and fitness space, a six-lane lap pool, rooms for yoga, spinning, classes, a lounge and game room, locker rooms with sauna, offices and a wellness center.

The proposal will now be sent to the University of Missouri System for consideration by the Board of Curators in June. Selby hopes the large voter turnout sends the message that the rec center is something the students want.

“I would be extremely disappointed if it didn’t become approved,” Selby said. “I’m hoping that the curators see that UMSL needs this on our campus and that it is a priority to maintain competition with other state institutions.”

Assuming a design and construction schedule of 30 months, the projected opening of a new recreation center would happen during the 2014-2015 academic year. The student fee would not go into effect until the building opened.

Myra Lopez

Myra Lopez