SPSCC students want a $16 million Health and Wellness Center

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Article via The Olympian
By Lisa Pemberton

A Health and Wellness Center featuring sports courts, a weight and cardio room, and more study spaces could be coming to South Puget Sound Community College.

Students at the Olympia-based college voted last week to have a quarterly fee assessed to pay for the proposed $16 million, 39,150-square-foot facility on its main campus.

Artistic rendering of the proposed building exterior

If everything stays on schedule — officials say it still needs approval this month from the college’s Board of Trustees and the state Board for Community and Technical Colleges — the center would open in summer 2020.

The ASB Student Senate referendum received 64 percent approval, with 583 “yes” votes and 335 votes in opposition, during last week’s online election, according to ASB president Jess Wilkins.

At least 10 percent of students were required to participate to validate the election, and nearly a quarter of students did so, she said.

“It went amazingly well,” she said.

The passage allows the college to assess students a $4.10-per-credit fee, beginning fall quarter, to pay for the new center. A student who is taking 12 credits would pay $49.20 per quarter.

The fee would apply to students who are enrolled in online classes and at the Lacey campus, and the facility would be available for their use, according to Jen Manley, SPSCC dean of student engagement and retention.

She said the fee would be collected until the construction loan is paid off, which is expected to take about 20 years.

Artistic rendering of the student space interiorTo create the center, the college plans to expand the current 21,000-square-foot gym by 18,400 square feet and connect it to the college’s Building 33, which currently houses adult basic education classes. The remodel would create an auxiliary gym, additional locker and team rooms, a wellness cafe, more student meeting space and a training room/sports medicine facility, according to a flyer on the project.

Not only would students have an indoor place on campus to work out, they’d also have more options for intramural clubs and activities, Wilkins said.

Right now, the college has one gymnasium, and its priority is fitness classes and the college’s sports teams, Manley said.

This isn’t the first time students have voted to impose a fee on themselves for a major capital project. The college’s Student Union Building, which houses student activities, the bookstore and food services, was financed by a 20-year loan paid for with fees, and that loan was recently paid off, Manley said.

Read more about the initiative on the Health and Wellness Center page.

Artistic rendering of new workout space