Participants of some group classes at the Recreation Center will soon see an impact on their wallets as well as their bodies.
The Recreation Center will begin to charge for some classes in the spring through a new pricing system, though some classes will continue to be offered at no cost.
Sally Wright, associate director of programs at the center, said the fees will be issued through membership pass sales or charges on the class by day. Students with a pass will have to pay a one-time fee of $50 or $125, and students without passes will have the option to pay $8 a class, she said.
Wright said the charges are needed in order to ensure high-quality instruction in the classes. She said the certified instructors require higher salaries than the non-certified instructors.
“While the cost of doing business continues to rise, we have made a commitment to not raise the Recreation Center fees to all students but rather look at other opportunities to generate revenue,” she said.
Student fees will continue to give students full access to the facility’s fitness equipment, courts, tracks and swimming pool, she said, and students will have the opportunity to participate in 19 free fitness classes.
The new charges will apply only to the center’s other options, she said, and Recreational Sports and Services divided the classes into three categories to decide how to charge for each class.
She said Tier 1 will include 19 basic classes a week at no additional charge. Tier 2, which will cost $50 for a semester, will hold 21 classes a week, including Zumba, Cycle, TurboKick and other classes that must be taught by certified instructors. Tier 3, she said, will cost $125 for a semester and include 13 classes a week such as Yoga, Pilates, PiYo and Mind-Body Fusion.
Wright said students who participated in Tier 2 or 3 classes in the past won’t notice many changes because they have required some payment before. Wright said Tier 2 pass holders will have access to both Tier 1 and 2 classes, and Tier 3 pass holders will have access to all three class tiers.
“To help put these fees in perspective, one could do the math and see that if a person paid $50 for a Tier-2 pass and attended three Zumba classes per week, the cost per class over the 16- week semester is 96 cents per class,” she said. “For Tier 3 classes, a person could attend three Yoga or Pilates classes per week over the 16-week semester at a cost of $3.29 per class.”
Without the charges, Wright said the center would have to reduce the amount of qualified instructors it employs.
“By implementing this system, we are able to continue offering the kind of high quality classes our students/members have come to expect,” she said.
The center expects a large revenue increase because the classes have historically been very well-attended, Wright said. She said the classes typically fill to their capacity.
“The important thing about these classes is that they provide our customers with a variety of options to meet the many needs and wants of our diverse population,” Wright said. “These classes also give our student instructors an opportunity to gain work experience and an income.”
Andrew Durham, a junior from Naperville studying business management, said he doesn’t think the new costs are fair. He said students already have to pay enough for the facility through student fees.
“I could understand if they are expensive classes,” he said. “I would have to look at how much they are charging compared to what I could get at a gym before I would pay for a class there.”
He also said he doesn’t like using the Recreation Center because it is too crowded. He said the center should look to extend its hours if classes are going to cost more.
James Cain, a doctorate in nutrition from Springfield, said students should take advantage of the Recreation Center because it will help them in all aspects of life.
“Quite honestly, you tend to eat better foods if you exercise,” he said. “Then exercising will make you feel better, and feeling better will help you do better in school. Exercising tends to give you more energy and make you do better in school.”
Ken Pruett, a senior from Woodlawn studying exercise science, said he uses the Recreation Center quite frequently. He said he likes the motivation and discipline the classes offer.
“It’s a good place for students to work out and be healthy,” he said. “I hope enough students take advantage of it because they have to pay for it each semester.”