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The Stout Student Association recently approved a resolution recommending adding recreational space to the university Sports and Recreation Complex that will increase student segregated fees by $11.29 per credit.

An advisory referendum held in April by the student government included four questions. Nearly half, 49.5 percent, of the 1,275 students voted for the option to recycle the unused pool area into a multiuse gymnasium and improve locker and shower facilities, providing more privacy and gender-neutral options.

The option also includes new space dedicated to fitness, including strength training, cardio and fitness studio, and a single entry point to the facility for greater security.

Fitness Center member fees would be eliminated for UW-Stout students. There also would be a new space for two second-floor multiuse courts, two studio gyms and a walking and jogging track, as well as space dedicated to open recreation.

Total cost of the project is $25.5 million.

Segregated fees would be $338.50 per year on a 30-credit load, an increase of $250 per year. Segregated fees would gradually increase until construction begins, at which point the fees would remain at maximum prices through bond repayment.

SSA President Deon Canon said he believes the result of the vote showed students wanted the Sports and Recreation Complex updated to meet the current and future needs of students.

“The current Sports and Recreation Complex is inadequate and inaccessible to the majority of the student population,” Canon said. “Renovating and expanding the building will ensure students will be able to enjoy the Sports and Recreation Complex for the future.”

With passage of the resolution supporting the increase in student fees, SSA members included some requirements:

  • Any committee related to the Sports and Recreation Complex renovation must have at least half student membership. Those students must be confirmed by the SSA.
  • The complex will comply with university procedures for waste reduction.
  • The complex must live up to the American College and Universities President’s Climate Commitment by being designed to a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver level, in accordance with the Wisconsin State Building Commissioner’s Sustainable Facilities Policy and Energy Design Guideline.
  • The complex must explore renewable energy, such as solar energy or geothermal, and follow university procedure to maximize opportunities for energy efficient equipment.

Sustainability, use of renewable energy and accessibility to all students, regardless of gender identity, are important to students, Canon said.

“Now that all students will be paying for it, we want to ensure the complex is accessible for every single student,” Canon said. “We want it to look toward the future and be sustainable and energy-efficient.”

The student government wants regular reports as the project commences, Canon said.

Mackenzie Stutzman, UW-Stout associate director of recreation, said the recreation department appreciates the SSA’s support. “A project of this size in the area of recreation will benefit the university in many ways,” she said. “Our operations offer students an outlet to destress, socialize, meet new people, learn new skills and take up lifelong activities,” she said.

“Having the spatial capacity and availability for a wider population of students will benefit students both physically and mentally. This project will make us more relevant, bringing us closer in line with facilities in other UW System and surrounding institutions,” Stutzman said.

The improved facilities also will help with student recruitment and retention, Stutzman said. “We are excited that we will be able to reach more students through open recreation opportunities as well as with programming opportunities. We can expect to see more inclusive facilities and facilities that are up to date with many of the latest architectural trends.”

The building project will go through the state capital planning process and Board of Regents for final approval.

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