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By KRISTIN HODGES kdh027@latech

By KRISTIN HODGES

kdh027@latech.edu

 

Student Government Association is proposing a $25 increase in student fees to fund an expansion and renovation of the Maxie Lambright Intramural Center in a bill passed at the Feb. 6 senate meeting.

Dickie Crawford, dean of student life and auxiliary services, said the next step is presenting the proposal to the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors in Baton Rouge at the end of February.

“The SGA leadership will go down there and ask permission from the board for us to put this on the ballot before the students in April,” Crawford said. Jim King, vice president for student affairs, will also take part in the proposal.

Then, students will have a chance to vote either for the $25 increase and the changes to the intramural center or vote against the fee increase and keep the intramural center as it is, Crawford said.

King said he knows housing has to be replaced, but the proposed changes to the intramural center are completely up to the students’ votes.

King also said the proposed changes were designed through focus groups with students to get in as many amenities as possible. King said the intramural center was built about 25 years ago, but now it is outdated.

“When it was designed, it was more around the idea of a gymnasium,” King said. “Today’s recreational sport is blended more with wellness, blended more with a proactive approach to health.”

King also said the proposed changes will turn the intramural center into a health spa atmosphere, with individual training being a priority.

“[The intramural center] has gotten so popular that students are saying they want it bigger. We can expand,” King said.

He said current designs add more space for aerobic and weight equipment, adding a rock climbing wall, moving the bowling lanes to the new facility and extending the indoor jogging lane. He also said lockers for storage and a food service facility are also included.

King said one of the biggest concepts is the proposal to move the pool to the areas surrounding the current intramural center. He said the Natatorium is not efficient and it costs a large amount of money to heat the water.

“There are now ways to take the heat you are removing from [the intramural center] and heat water with it,” King said. He said this method is much more economical, and is a part of the goal to build energy saving facilities.

King said three pool areas are being proposed, including a 50 meter Olympic-sized competition pool, a 25-meter heated pool and a recreational pool.

King said the competition pool would give Tech the opportunity to have swimming and diving added as varsity sports. He said the recreational pool would be an area for students to lounge and socialize and is designed in two sections.

“If a student organization wants to reserve a section of it, they can,” King said. “It is designed to provide maximum flexibility and keep people happy.”

King said with the designs for new pools, the Natatorium would be available for SGA to have a home for their mentoring program after filling in the pool and air conditioning the building.

“Part of the recreation fee, part of what [students] would be asked to vote on is only building, but it’s leaving the old facility in a condition that the SGA program can pick it up,” King said.

Caleb Smith, SGA president and a senior marketing major, said the proposed changes to the intramural center will provide Tech with first class facilities.

“With the plans for construction, you don’t have to go to a more expensive school or a private university in another state,” Smith said.

Smith also said the plans make physical fitness more convenient and enjoyable by having all the facilities in one central location.

Smith said the changes funded by the student fee increase will put Tech on par with some of the best university athletic facilities in the region.

“Compared to the cost of going to a private university or a larger university that has the facilities like we are going to construct, this will be insignificant,” Smith said.

King said if the fee increase passes, the changes will transform Tech.

“I think it will have the biggest impact on this university in its history,” King said.

“We can do it. It’s going to take all of us. The state can’t do it, but between private funding, state funding and students, we can do it.”


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