The Student Government Association has proposed plans for new Health and Wellness Facilities. It will take approximately five years and $39.6 million, but first and foremost it must pass a student vote.
Depending on the outcome of the referendum vote, held between March 7 and 13, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point may or may not carry out construction of the Health and Wellness Facilities. The vote will be held via student-wide email.
Although students have been educated and informed about the referendum and have a week to vote electronically, voter turnout on campus tends to be low, typically near 30 percent.
“What is the response rate that we want from the students? 100 percent. And that’s what we give them the full opportunity to do,” said Anna Haug, the University Health Services student director of SGA.
Haug expects a higher turnout than from the tobacco referendum last year.
“I think more people are passionate. If they are involved in intramurals, health care, athletics, student health services, counseling or child care, this will affect them,” Haug said.
After the vote, the referendum will go through the state, but the state will not approve it unless there is a way to pay. The purpose of the referendum, a binding deal, states that students will pay for the project.
If students vote against the proposal the project stops and in eight to 10 years Delzell will be demolished. If students vote in favor of the proposal students will begin paying $25 per semester or $50 for the 2014-2015 academic year.
Cost will increase to $62.50 per semester or $125 for the 2015-2016 school year, and finally stabilize at $137.50 per semester or $275 per year for the next 30 years.
“I’ve received a couple emails about it and kind of know what is happening from my hall,” said Allison Rumbuc, a freshman social work and sociology major. “I really like the idea of a new center and wouldn’t mind paying for it if the cost wasn’t too high.”
The payment process is following a phasing in process out of fairness for those who will be leaving campus in the near future.
Kayla Schuh, a senior art major, likes the idea of a new facility, but dislikes the cost since she will be graduating in a few semesters.
“Hopefully it will have more equipment that we can use because there isn’t enough right now,” Schuh said. “But I’m not a fan of the cost. Other schools pay about the same as us and already have nicer facilities. We shouldn’t have to pay more for tuition because by the time it’s built none of us are even going to be around to use it.”
According to the architectural firm Kahler Slater, the earliest the indoor facilities will open is the fall of 2018. However, the outdoor facility, including the fields and the track, will begin right away.
A big question stirring throughout campus is if the extra cost will affect the student enrollment goal of 10,000 students.
“This project will most likely increase our enrollment,” Haug said. “The price might possibly affect it, but even if prices go up, students will still pay it. It’s almost like gas prices, no matter how high gas prices go, we still pay it. I don’t think that $275 will deter anyone from our campus.”
Morgan Arnold, a sophomore family consumer sciences major, likes the idea of the new facilities, but also dislikes that students will have to pay extra each semester.
“I think that in the long run it has many more benefits than costs,” Arnold said. “It will also provide future students with more up to date facilities and a better experience. To see this school become more up to date would be awesome and very beneficial for the future.”
Haug believes that this project will ultimately promote health and wellness on campus.
“The idea of voting for this project is not only saying we want this physical building, it’s also saying as students we prioritize health and wellness on campus,” Haug said.