At the center of Parkside political discussion and rhetoric for the past month, one singular question has dominated: at what cost do we value the benefit of lifting iron and crunching abs?
By a majority vote on Wednesday, Mar. 2, the Parkside student senate approved a resolution to fund the weight room renovation project. Parkside Student Government (PSG) senators and Executive Board members have been working on a solution to improve the facility since Athletic Director Tamie Falk-Day presented the issue to the senate last month.
Amanda Barber, Adam Spivey, and Jisha Jose were among those to sponsor the resolution. In addition, co-sponsors included Marcus Bouterse, Garfield Davis, and Ben Holmes.
The resolution outlines why there’s such a dire need for the weight room to be renovated.
After researching other weight rooms at high schools and college campuses all over the region, PSG determined that Parkside’s facility is clearly obsolete. According to the resolution, “Every public University in the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Conference has a weight room superior to UW-Parkside’s, as evidenced in the attached images and websites.”
Also, approving this renovation puts the Athletics Dept. in a more favorable position to recruit athletes. PSG has concluded that creating an environment that is safer, more effective, and more aesthetically pleasing for students and potential recruits are further reasons to justify the renovation.
“Having a healthy campus is vital to the success of any University,” said Bouterse, a senior with a double major in Geography and History. “It produces healthy minds for students and athletes alike in the goal to continually move UW-Parkside forward and remain competitive.”
As a result of minimal academic courses offered in the weight room, UW-Parkside’s Athletics Dept. won’t have the option of General Purpose Revenue (GPR) funding. Money from any external sources won’t be available. Another idea proposed that athletes pick up the cost through more fundraising. However, it’s been resolved that UW-P athletes already fundraise to the extent that it isn’t reasonable to demand any more.
It’s expected that the students will ultimately cover the $1.5 million weight room facility out of UW-Parkside segregated fees. It will cost each student $36 per year over a span of 10 years.
In the initial presentation, Falk-Day stressed the need for a more aesthetically attractive facility for recruiting athletes, as well as a more adequate space for students to exercise. She also assured that the renovation would boost enrollment, and improve community participation within the University.
Parkside senators fielded questions to Falk-Day during the presentation. Concerns included that there were no recorded statistics to prove an enrollment increase. Students also questioned whether money could be spent more effectively on other health services.
“I believe that a new weight room would put too much of a financial burden on the students at this time,” said freshman Matt Axelson, a Pre-Med major. “It’s just that right now big budget cuts are going on in the state and tuition increases are already putting strain on the students… Putting even more money worries on their shoulders at this time is just not acceptable.”
For stipulations, the resolution states that the “Department of Athletics give monthly renovation updates to the Segregated University Fee Allocation Committee and… details of the approval process be overseen by the Segregated University Fee Allocation Committee whose Director shall report back to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Student Government Senate at least once per calendar month with all possible updates.” These are to ensure accountability and proper communication on the part of students, faculty, and those departments involved.
“The weight room is an important part of UW Parkside not only for athletes, but also for the students, faculty, alumni and community,” said Barber. “There was never any doubt in my mind that the weight room needed to be renovated; my concerns were entirely based on the source of funding the renovation.”
In the case that there is no Presidential veto, the resolution will go into effect. Pending the Chancellor and Board of Regents approval, the weight room is projected to be finished by January of 2012.
PSG encourages students to make their voice heard on this or any issue by contacting a student senator at Parkside, or participating in weekly senate meetings in the Student Center Ball Room, Wednesdays, at 5 PM.
With PSG elections approaching in April, stop by the PSG office to find out about opportunities are available.
Article by Eric Zizich