Regents Approve Preliminary Planning for Student Aquatic Center



April 19, 2005 – The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today authorized the University to proceed with hiring an architect and engaging engineering services to develop a conceptual design and cost estimate for a student aquatic center.

Preliminary plans call for the aquatic center to include a lap pool and several recreational water amenities, with construction tentatively set to begin in spring 2006. The action follows a resolution approved by Student Government last month to increase the student general fee to support enhancements to campus life, including a new aquatic center to be operated by Recreational Sports.

The decision to increase the general student fee began early this semester with student focus groups conducted by Dr. Judy Wiles of the Department of Marketing and Management. The Student Senate brought a resolution to the table Feb. 28 in support of a student fee increase. The resolution was tabled until the following week. On March 4, Student Government executives presented the Senate resolution to the Budget Review Committee, which voted to support the increase. On March 7, the Student Senate voted 23-3-1 to support the increase as well.

Acting on the Student Government resolution, the Board of Regents today approved a $2 per credit hour increase in the student general fee, beginning in fall 2005. The Regents also agreed to increase student general fees by $2 for each of the following four years to improve campus life for Southeast students.

Four areas will benefit from the general student fee increase by receiving increases in their portion of the fee. Of the $2 increase, the Student Recreation Center and intramurals will receive an additional 40 cents; the Aquatic Center project will receive 75 cents; student activities will receive an additional 10 cents; and student athletics will receive an additional 75 cents.

University officials say the need for an aquatic center has been apparent since the Board of Regents approved a plan to balance the fiscal 2003 budgets which included closing of Parker Pool in October 2002.

Officials said an aquatic center not only would increase recreational options for students, but also would increase the marketability of Southeast for prospective students. Prospective students expect that an institution the size of Southeast would have a modern aquatics center, they said, adding that all comparable universities in the region have some type of an aquatics feature in their recreational sports offerings.

The proposed 75-cent fee increase would provide base funding towards the debt service for a bond issue for the design, site development, construction and furnishings of an aquatic center with an estimated total cost of $7.8 million.

Dr. Ivy Locke, vice president for business and finance, said the funds generated by the 40-cent increase in the Student Recreation Center and intramural fee and the 10-cent increase in the student activity fee will be used to expand base funding to attract major speakers and entertainers to campus for evening and weekend events sponsored by the Student Activities Council and other student organizations.

Locke said the student athletic fee was last increased in 1999. Since then, Southeast’s enrollment has grown as has its prominence in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC). Additionally, she said, the growing costs of equipment, fuel – for recruiting and team travel due to the expansion of schools participating in the OVC – and scholarships have necessitated an increase.

In recent years, she said, athletics has been forced to balance its budget with a growing number of guarantee games in both football and men’s basketball. During the same period, many athletics initiatives have been funded primarily by private donations and fund-raising by team coaches.