Daily Egyptian

Rec Center to reduce fall hours, add workout studios

Daily Egyptian file photo.

Daily Egyptian file photo.

By Cory Ray

The SIU Rec Center will see many changes for the fall semester, including reduced hours, the closure of the Thompson Point recreation room and the addition of new equipment and a change in location for several studios and member services.

Director Troy Vaughn said the center expects to save around $400,000 for the academic year through budget cuts.

One major change Vaughn said patrons can expect to see for the fall semester is reduced hours, with the Rec Center closing at 10 p.m. on weeknights instead of midnight.

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According to Vaughn, the Rec Center costs about $350 to operate per hour, and the reduction of ten open hours per week will save the center anywhere from $50,000 t0 $60,000 for the the academic year.

He said the center will continue to close at 9 p.m. on Saturday’s and will also close at 9 p.m. on Friday nights.

Vaughn said the change is due in part to low usage of the Rec Center by patrons at night.

“We saw a significant decline in the past year in looking at those numbers starting at 10 p.m.,” he said.

With the closure of the Thompson Point recreation room at the bottom of Lentz Dining Hall, which Vaughn said also did not have enough use to warrant remaining open, the Rec Center purchased the equipment in that space from Housing.

“While there was committed use to some folks, some of the students on that side of campus,” he said, “it was very difficult to justify keeping that open knowing that we had a Rec Center here and available.”

Vaughn said the closure will save the Rec Center $10,000 this academic year in staffing positions.

“All of this is a direct result of the budget,” he said. “It has nothing to do other than the fact that we just have to cut back expenses.”

Students will still be able to use that equipment as it has since been moved to the Rec Center’s old martial arts studio, which is now called the Central Fitness Studio.

“We know in the evenings our fitness rooms get incredibly crowded, so this gives another option for students to be able to workout,” he said.

The martial arts studio has been moved to the upper level of the Rec Center in room 158, past the pool but before the entrance to the Health Center.

Punching bags will be hung in the new martial arts studio, according to Vaughn.

He said since the studio will be on the upper level, the Rec Center is considering either having a “key in” system using student ID’s or stationing an employee outside the door to swipe in patrons.

Under the latter example, Vaughn said the studio would only be open for a few hours in the evening.

On the lower level, similar rooms to the martial arts studio exist such as a room with heavy bags near the inclusive changing area as well as a matted studio with punching and heavy bags in a renovated racquetball court.

Member services has been moved from the upper level to the base camp area on the lower level just past check-in on the right.

The office will have extended hours from previous semesters, which Vaughn said will now be open from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 on weekdays. It will also begin opening on weekends for selected hours, starting in the fall semester.

Vaughn said anyone wishing to purchase guest passes can now bypass the front and go directly to membership services for those passes.

The Rec Center is funded through both student and membership fees from community members, with student fees comprising 80 percent of the center’s funding. In recent years, however, a decline in enrollment has decreased the amount of funding to the Rec Center.

Vaughn said since 2010, the center has seen a reduction from 22 graduate assistantships to five for the fall semester.

Additionally, two employees were laid off, but both have found employment in other departments at the university, according to Vaughn.

Due to what Vaughn cited as low participation, Rec Center sponsored trips have been eliminated, but students will still be able to check out items from base camp for their own use. The Rec Center will also work with Touch of Nature and students to help students find group trip activities.

Vaughn said while the center has implemented cost-saving measures, intramural sports and group fitness programs have not been affected.

Editor-in-Chief Cory Ray can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @coryray_de.

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