Sunday, March 6, 2011

CU Rec Center Expansion To Be On Spring Ballot

BOULDER, Colo. (3/1/11) – Expansion and renovation of the University of Colorado at Boulder Student Recreation Center will be on the Apr. 4-8 CU Student Government ballot as a referendum.

The new renovation will increase the size of the center by nearly 30 percent at its current location on campus. Other features of the project include doubling the cardio and weight rooms, adding an indoor turf field, doubling the group fitness studio space, reconstructing the ice arena, renovating existing gyms and adding new wood floors, and building a state-of-the-art climbing gym and bouldering area. The project will also include renovation of the current pool and an installation of an outdoor pool so students can enjoy Colorado's 300 annual days of sunshine.

However in order for the renovations to take place, 25 percent of the student body will need to vote in the spring election because it is a student referendum – a significant challenge since the highest percentage of the student population that has voted in any election was 24 percent.

"It is very important for students to not only exercise their voice through the student elections, but it is also important for students to consider that previous generations of students took it among themselves to create the rec center that we have now,” said CU Recreational Services Director Cheryl Kent. “Students have the chance to leave their legacy for the future in the April vote."

The current student recreation center first opened in 1973 and was considered a state-of-the-art facility and one of the largest of its kind in the country. The center was expanded to improve facilities in 1989 and reopened in 1990. Student fees helped fund both projects.

There is a considerable amount of support for the use of student fees to help fund the new renovations. Of the students who responded to three surveys in February, April and December of last year, 71 percent indicated support for an increase in their fees to help pay for the proposed project. The surveys were conducted by Brailsford and Dunlavey, a program management firm that works with many universities around the country.

Under the terms of the referendum, student fees would increase in the amount of $121-$125 per student per semester, but the increase won’t occur until Fall 2013 at the earliest when ready for occupancy. That means the majority of students on campus today will never have to pay for the project. CU students voting in the election would be leaving their legacy by supporting a new student recreation center at one of the premier universities in the country.

If the referendum does pass, the student recreation center will still be open and useable during construction.

If the referendum doesn’t pass in the April vote, programs and facilities at the rec center may have to close because the costs to maintain them will become too high. There are over $25 million in needed repairs for the center that include the ice rink, the roof, heating and ventilation, life safety, structural issue, pool issues, and many more.

"The biggest thing is that this project is designed to effectively address the deferred maintenance needs of the building,” Kent said. “This is to help keep what we have in great shape from a safety and structural prospective while also growing the building to meet the needs of today's student enrollment numbers.”

Voting for the referendum will begin at midnight on Monday Apr. 4 and will go until 8 p.m. on Friday Apr. 8. Students will be able to vote at the CU Rec Center and University Memorial Center or online on their My CU Info accounts.

For more information on the project, visit

• In 2009-10, 88 percent of full-time CU students engaged in Recreation Services programs.
• Facilities were open 119 hours per week during spring and fall semesters, with late night hours on Friday and Saturday. 
• Annually, 800,000 student visits to the CU Recreation indoor facilities are recorded, and hundreds of student and community groups are served.
• Registrations in Intramural Sports reach 18,600 annually.
• Collegiate Club Sports teams have a rich history of bringing home national championships.
• More than 1,350 CU students participate on 61 teams within our 34 Collegiate Sport Clubs annually.
• Over 50 Outdoor Program activities are offered each semester and students get connected through our partnership with new student welcome and orientation. 
• Customized team-building and problem-solving activities are created for CU and off-campus groups at our Challenge Ropes Course, with nearly 100 groups served annually.
• 350 students (70-80 F.T.E.) are employed by annually.
• This student-fee funded department operates on a $7 million budget, with 36 staff F.T.E. to support all programs, facilities, and services.