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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    More rec classes worth the price

    Here at the UA we have a nationally recognized Student Recreation Center. Complete with sports fields, weight rooms, exercise classes and other amenities, it truly is a marvelous resource for students looking for an aggressive workout or a relaxing yoga class. Despite this, our Rec Center remains undersized for our student body. But an increase in the number of group fitness classes offered would ensure that we maximize the space we do have. That increase could come from a hike in the Health and Recreation fee each student pays at the beginning of the year.

    Currently, the Rec Center offers an array of classes for gym-goers to participate in, but according to Lynn Zwaagstra, director of Campus Recreation, budget constraints have stalled the hiring of more instructors and the expansion of fitness classes. The Rec Center is also smaller than it should be for our population because of the difficulty of expanding the facilities, she said.

    Less expensive and more varied group fitness classes are the solution. These types of activities would help remedy the problem of our undersized space by encouraging close quarters and multiple participants — thereby offering more space-efficient workouts.

    The American College of Sports Medicine states that group exercise “offers a variety of benefits that you may miss out on if you exercise alone.” Group fitness classes offer students the chance to partake in an activity that they may know nothing about in a guided manner. Group fitness classes also provide a motivating competitiveness that isn’t present in individual exercise.

    But group classes require the expense of expert instructors, hiking up participation fees. The Rec Center currently offers individual pricing for group fitness classes and a $79 pass for members for the entire semester. This pricing, however, is above that of competitors like 4th Avenue Yoga, at $7 per class compared to $4.

    The Rec Center’s records reveal just how massive the overhead is for operating the Rec — with an operating budget of approximately $8.3 million — and auxiliary areas. This overhead, combined with program fees and facility updates, has forced the Rec Center to cut back on instructors and personnel, who are paid from class fees and other inconsistent forms of revenue.

    Students, however, should not suffer from unexpected changes in funding, and would instead benefit from a more consistent way of generating income for the recreation programs at the UA: an increase in the mandatory student fee for Health and Recreation.

    Presently, the Rec Center is funded by four sources, three of which are student fees, combined and charged in one lump sum to each student. The result is a modest $128 expense. If the fee was increased marginally per student, a large part of the campus population would benefit greatly.

    A reported 60 percent of undergraduate students and 40 percent of graduate students actively use the Rec Center. The Rec Center also prides itself on hiring students, according to Natalie Freeland, the associate director for programs. With a larger source of funding available to the Rec Center, a larger group of students could be hired as well as additional classes and amenities added to the Rec Center.

    Freeland also said that the Rec Center would expand if it had additional funding.
    “The Rec values quality over quantity,” Freeland said. “We want to offer our students and customers the best in instructors and programs.”

    The best, in this case, would be group classes. We’ve got a great recreation program and a nationally ranked Rec Center, but improvement is an option that should be pursued in the form of a fee increase for students.

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