In the coming months, students will have a say in whether or not Swinney Recreation Center will be expanded, and at what level. The result of which would affect student fees.
UMKC Student Government Association President Drew Rogers brought the idea forward in earnest in the 2016-2017 academic year as an SGA senator.
“It came to my attention at the very beginning of last year’s sessions that there was a study done on Swinney,” said the third-year law student. “And the recommendation from that study was that for a university our size, our facility—such as weightlifting and aerobics—should be larger.”
The study was based on student populations, universities of similar size, and comparable facilities.
Rogers said the SGA of two years ago thought the cost was too great to pursue.
“I thought it was something we should at least get the students’ input on, so I pushed for a referendum on it,” he said.
One sophomore, second year medical student Pooja Menon used the gym a lot her freshman year. Although she doesn’t now, she believes an expansion would be good for the students who do.
But, she said, not if it means an increase in fees.
“I know a lot of people are already trying a lot to keep up with tuition, and probably wouldn’t want an increase in their fees, especially if they don’t use the rec center themselves,” Menon said.
Sophomore Brooke Bradley also sees the benefit of an expansion. Both Bradley and Menon mentioned the gym can get crowded, and that students have to wait on equipment at times.
Bradley however, doesn’t use the facility often. She wishes the facility was exclusive to students, and she said it’s difficult at times to share the track and equipment when the student athletes have their training time.
Rogers acknowledged that students who do not use Swinney wouldn’t benefit from the expansion, but he hopes an expansion would inspire more students to take advantage of it.
Students don’t have to worry about an executive decision being made on their behalf, however. A consulting group will be coming to campus in the next few months to conduct focus groups about what students do and don’t like in the rec center, and whether or not they’d like to see an expansion.
Then, an online survey will be available for all students to give their input.
Rogers explained that there would be multiple levels of expansion for students to decide on, and they could answer “no” to all if they chose.
“Ultimately it’s our decision as students,” he said.
For Rogers, he believes the benefits reach far beyond personal fitness.
“Ultimately it comes down to where do we want this university to go over the next 20 years,” he said. “If we invest in our facilities, we attract great students, who become great alumni and raise the prestige of our university. “