New rec center sails through final approval

In this 2006 file photo, a student lifts weights in the Mark Twain Athletic & Fitness Center at UMSL. Future students and members of the UMSL community will have more fitness options on campus after the UM System curators gave final approval Tuesday to a new recreation facility. (Photo by August Jennewein)

If commitment to your constituents counts in the world of student government politics, then Jericah Selby should give lessons.

Selby, past president of Student Government Association at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, sat through a lengthy meeting Tuesday afternoon, cheered the final approval of a new recreation facility on her campus, then made a 10-hour trip to Denver to start law school.

“That’s what I call dedication,” said UMSL Chancellor Tom George, of Selby’s attendance at the meeting of the Curators of the University of Missouri System. The vote to approve construction of a new recreation and wellness center at UMSL was unanimous.

Selby, who graduated in May, helped shepherd a student referendum in March that won by a nearly 2-1 margin of the more than 1,500 votes cast. Students approved a fee of $19.25 per credit hour up to 12 credit hours each semester to fund the $36 million project. Fees will be assessed once the center opens which is expected fall of 2014.

George said feelings were running high after the meeting and he praised the student government representatives for their work on a successful campaign.

“We’re ecstatic about receiving the green light to move forward on this very exciting project for UMSL,” George said. “This will truly enhance campus life and increase the attractiveness of UMSL to not only potential students, but current students, faculty, staff, alumni and the surrounding communities.”

The 94,000 square foot facility will be built just south of the Millennium Student Center. It will include a three-court gymnasium, a six-lane lap pool, an elevated track, juice bar, locker rooms and a wellness center.Steven Brockman, a senior majoring in business administration and the new SGA president, worked for months on the referendum committee. He attended the curators meeting.

“The students gave us their feedback on the center, they were heard and now they’ll get what they asked for,” Brockman said. “It was an exciting process and I’m looking forward to representing the students in the coming year.”


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