Student Activities Center to begin construction in 2014
Published: Monday, October 14, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2013 18:10
A new student activities center planned for construction in 2014 will be shared between several different groups across campus, including the football team, cheerleaders, band and intramural sports.
The center was granted $11 million after a $27.7 million bond issue was approved by the A-State Board of Trustees on Sept. 20.
The building will be a 78,000-square-foot, 100 yard indoor football field/space.
It will be constructed where the current soccer field is, and the soccer field will be moved to the inside of the intercollegiate competition track facility.
Russ Hannah, associate vice chancellor for finance, said the bond approved by the board was a student fee revenue bond, which is backed by tuition and fees.
“There’s not a specific fee for this particular project,” Hannah said, but added the $3 per credit hour facility fee, although not specific to the center, will be put toward the project.
In an email interview, Jeff Hankins, vice president for strategic communications and economic development, said the Student Activities Center is different from the athletic facility that was proposed last year, which would have included a strength and conditioning center and sports medicine center.
“We pursued a different approach after seeing examples at the University of Oregon, the University of Nebraska, the University of Wyoming and Boise State University,” Hankins said.
Hankins said the facility will serve not only the Athletics Department, but also intramurals, club sports, the band, dance team, cheerleaders and other student activities.
He said the facility will differ from the Red W.O.L.F. Center with its wide-open indoor space that can accommodate field sports teams and the band, as opposed to a fitness facility with basketball courts and exercise equipment.
“We’ll do social events in there as well,” Terry Mohajir, athletic director, said.
Mohajir said the building will be a large, open space to do different activities.
“We’re one of the only schools in the nation who will be sharing access (with the student body),” he added.
Operating hours for the facility have not been set yet, but Mohajir said certain groups or sports could have it reserved for certain time slots, and students would have access after those reserved times.
Mohajir added the feedback over the project has been fantastic, yet there have been different views from others across campus.
Gary Albright, retired director of intramurals, said he feels the facility will only be available for the football team.
“They supposedly had the money to build it when Malzahn (was here),” Albright said.
Albright said he didn’t know what the center would be used for during the rest of the day, and he added he supports the student body, whose fees will go toward the building.
“You don’t have an option to say, ‘I don’t want to pay for this,’” he said.
Justin Bowman, a junior agricultural business major of Gosnell, said he has mixed feelings about the new student activities center.
“It may be resourceful for most students, (but) to others it may just be an added cost in tuition,” Bowman said.
“If the students want to get behind something they don’t think is correct, they need to send their concerns to the administration,” Albright said.