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Dear students,

I want to echo University of Colorado Student Government Will Taylor’s sentiments in welcoming you back to campus in our column last week in the Colorado Daily (“CUSG’s Corner: Your government,” Aug. 31), and to elaborate more on one of the main projects that is under consideration this year: the Recreation Center renovation and expansion.

This project began roughly two years ago when it became apparent that many of the building’s major systems were in need of serious repair. The necessary repairs were so drastic that it would require a major renovation project, so the question was posed, “How can we make our Rec Center better?”

An internal feasibility study was launched and finished with a few core pillars to the project. Amongst those were: keeping the Rec Center on central campus; expanding open rec to deal with the problem of overcrowding and clutter; and creating multi-use facilities in order to maximize use of space.

This study was followed by an external feasibility study that was conducted last semester. The feasibility study included focus groups, two surveys and heavy input from students on the project’s steering committee.

From the feasibility study we found that 88 percent of CU students participate in some form of recreation at the Rec Center each semester. In addition, we found that 84 percent of CU students believe that the Rec Center contributes to CU’s quality of life. Finally, 44 percent of CU students see a Rec Center improvement project as either a high or very high priority.

All of these numbers come from two surveys that occurred during second semester of the last school year.

In addition, we compared our facilities to many of our peer institutions and found that we are well below national averages and our own demand. Most troubling areas include square footage per student (the national average was 10 to 12 square feet, while our facilities offer only 7 square feet), and weight and fitness (current area is 20,314 square feet, but the demand is 43,068 square feet).

These are just a few areas of concern, but in the interest of staying brief I will leave it at that.

Coming into program planning, we are excited to continue our study of students’ needs and wants for the Recreation Center. We aim to create a Recreation Center that not only fits our current needs, but will meet future demand.

In the end, however, this is your project and the final product will be a result of your input.

All semester, the project’s steering committee — which is made of students and staff — will be working on revising the project and shaping our final program.

If you are interested, I encourage you to express that interest to the rec staff and they can point you in the right direction.

Over the next months, we will be asking students for input on what rec facilities are most important to you and how we can best meet your recreation and wellness needs.

Continue to look for updated information at buffuptherec.com or colorado.edu/recreation.

To conclude, I’d like to encourage you to vote in the spring election, which will determine the final fate of the project. In the end, the project will be voted on as part of an election and a new building will happen only if you want it to.

Please vote so we can have an accurate representation of students and we can create something the students truly want. Thanks for reading and have a great year.

Peter Swanson is the CU Student Government’s vice president of internal affairs.

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