Campus makes plans for new rec center

A group of students plays basketball in Young Gymnasium. A recent proposal suggests making revisions to the gym for a rec center.

A group of students plays basketball in Young Gymnasium. A recent proposal suggests making revisions to the gym for a rec center.

New proposals have been made for the addition of a new recreation center on the campus of Missouri Southern.

The first proposal previously made was the construction of a multi-million dollar stand-alone facility to be located on the corner of Newman and Duquesne. Other proposals include making revisions to Young Gym and Leggett & Platt. The latest proposal is adding onto the west and southwest land areas behind Billingsly Student Center.

“I would prefer a stand alone facility, but it comes down to the cost,” said Darren Fullerton, director of campus recreation. “This is a good compromise because Billingsly is truly a student service building.”

Fullerton said College President Julio León is concerned that the stand-alone building would cost too much and does not want to make the students pay much extra. Whatever the building costs, students will most likely be paying an extra fee per semester to help fund it. Fullerton also says the majority of students that have been asked about an increase in fees wouldn’t mind paying extra.

“As long as they know what their money is going to, as a benefit,” he said.

He also mentioned right now, interest rates are down, so it would be a good time to build, meaning there would be less of a financial burden for students.

“I have no objection to paying an extra fee per semester,” said Dwight Drake, junior, marketing major. “We need a separate place for campus recreation.”

Right now, administration is asking for information for bids from different architect companies to be able to start a feasibility study. The administration wants to compare the cost and be able to know if adding on to Billingsly will still enable it to have everything they originally wanted for the stand-alone building. It is also going to have to come up with a different layout of how it will be constructed. The goal is to start this feasibility study within the next month. The date and layout of construction of the new recreation center depends on the results from the feasibility study. But whenever construction does start, it is expected to take 18 months to two years to complete.

“We don’t want students to think we are building another gym or weight room,” Fullerton said.

He said administration wants people to know they are not just building this for today, but for the next 20 years, or so, until they need to build and renovate again. Whatever the final plans may be, administration wants to be able to use this new building to appeal to future Southern students, as a type of recruitment retention, to wow them with the services Southern has available for students.