Process of determining the level of student support and approval for construction of a new Student Recreation Center (SRC) and the corresponding recreation fee
The proposed new University of Louisville Student Recreation Center will provide much needed space for the expansion of recreational and fitness opportunities for UofL students. Campus recreation and intramural sports are experiencing record growth. In the past five years the Sports Club program has grown from eight to twenty-two active clubs. Participation in group fitness classes has increased 100% over the past three years. Student involvement in the Intramural component of the program has continued to grow and flourish. Basketball, flag football and soccer leagues each have over 1,000 participants. The size of the current weight and fitness room is woefully inadequate for the current student population. The construction of a new SRC will address the facility needs of all areas of the Intramural & Recreational Sports program and provide students with the facility that they have requested and deserve.
- The Belknap master plan, which includes plans for a new recreation building near new student housing, was presented to and approved by the UofL Board of Trustees. (November of 2009)
- SGA representatives, including the President and Vice Presidents, toured student facilities at other campuses helping generate a better comparison of student facilities at the University of Louisville. (August 2009)
- During the SGA retreat, students discussed the current recreational facilities and interest in a new SRC. (August 28-29, 2009)
- At the student senate meeting on October 6, 2009, discussions occurred about recreational facility space.
- The Board of Trustees unamimously approved the student recreation fee (June 9, 2011)
- The Council on Postsecondary Education unanimously approved the student recreation fee (June 10, 2011)
- Surveys were distributed by SGA to students asking for their feedback on important issues at the University. One of the issues assessed was facilities, and students agreed that student recreation facilities were lacking and the University needed to improve in this area. (November and December 2009)
- SGA held a town hall forum about the proposed SRC. The forum, which took place at lunchtime on November 18, 2009, was designed for students to tell SGA what they wanted to see in the new facility, projected to cost $30 to $40 million. SGA President Oleka said there were three "menu options" for students: a high, medium and low plan. In the highest option, the student fee would be an estimated $100 to $150, and the recreation center, turf field and SAC renovation would be included. Oleka estimated the SRC could be built in four years under this plan. At the two lower options, the turf field and SAC renovation could be omitted. The student newspaper published an article and two editorials about the SRC forum and proposal on November 24, 2009.
- In cooperation with SGA President OJ Oleka (who was also a member of the BOT and Kentucky Board of Student Body Presidents), President Ramsey established the SRC Finance and Scope Committee comprised of student representatives and appropriate University administrators from the areas impacted. This group held weekly meetings in January and February of 2010 to develop a business plan and fee recommendations for the SRC.
- After receiving feedback from students, SGA executive leadership advocated keeping the fee below $100, not including the SAC renovation, but including the turf field.
- From the initial feedback received from the student survey, the Student 2020 plan was drafted by the SGA executive branch in January of 2010. The Student 2020 Plan is a strategic initiative led by student government and endorsed by the student body to change SGA from an association that evaluates problems annually into an institution that develops solutions aggregately. The Plan is dedicated to creating a new Cardinal experience for the student body at UofL and attempts to measure specific goals through tangible outcomes. The SGA executive branch approved the final version of the SGA 2020 Plan on February 17, 2010. This plan included the opening of a new SRC by 2013.
- Once the SGA leadership drafted the Plan, they shared initial drafts of it with representatives from the Faculty Senate, Student Senate, all student council presidents from every academic college on campus, and University administration, including the President and Provost. This information was also posted online so students could provide feedback.
- President Ramsey and Mr. Oleka had a meeting with CPE President Bob King to discuss the feasibility of building the SRC and the need to approve a student-supported fee. (February 19, 2010)
- Additional feedback was received and then further feedback was solicited by the student subcommittee established by SGA to further study construction of a new SRC and the associated cost and fees.
- The Chair of the SGA SRC committee and the SGA Executive Vice President went to speak with the Resident Student Association in February. Students had questions about parking and about what would be in the SRC. Even though it would take away parking spaces, members of RSA seemed very receptive to the new SRC as long as those parking spots were replaced.
- After feedback was received from all constituency groups, the Student 2020 Plan, which included the recommendation for the SRC to be built by 2013, was submitted to the SGA Executive Board. The Executive Board includes council presidents from all twelve colleges at the University. The Executive Board spent several weeks reviewing the Student 2020 Plan and making slight changes. According to the Chair of the Executive Board, the construction of the SRC was never challenged by any of the council presidents. The SGA Executive Board approved the Student 2020 Plan on February 16, 2010, and then submitted the plan to the full Student Senate.
- The Student Senate is comprised of presidents and vice presidents from every academic unit and 25 senators. The Senate had previously discussed the Student 2020 Plan on January 26 and February 9. The Student Senate unanimously approved the 2020 Plan on February 23, 2010, which included the recommendation that the SRC be built by 2013.
- The SRC Finance and Scope Committee approved their final report and background research document that was sent to SGA and President Ramsey for review. (March 1, 2010)
- The Chair of the SGA SRC committee and the SGA Executive Vice President made a presentation to the SGA Senate updating them about the Finance and Scope Committee report with the final proposed student fee options. (March 9, 2010)
- The SGA 2020 Plan was submitted as a referendum item for the Student Government Association elections for the 2010-11 academic year. Information about this was disseminated to students. The SGA 2020 Plan was approved by students in the election with an overall approval percentage of 88.96%. (March 2010)
- Given the overwhelming support for the Student 2020 Plan, SGA senate approved a resolution creating clear responsibilities for SGA to implement the Plan. The resolution included that failure of SGA representatives to perform the duties outlined in the resolution and/or failure to implement the Student 2020 Plan (per the will of the student body and the SGA Senate) shall be considered a "gross failure to carry out the required duties of the office," per the will and interests of the Student Senate and Student Body as outlined in the SGA Constitution. Failure to perform their constitutionally required duties may result in impeachment proceedings as described in the SGA Constitution. (April 2010)
- The Kentucky Legislature approved agency bonding authority for the construction of the SRC. (May 2010)
- During the SGA retreat, students discussed the current status of the SRC proposal. (August 27-28, 2010)
- In compliance with the previously mentioned resolution, SGA amended their bylaws to include the formation of student committees charged with implementing the Student 2020 Plan. The student facilities committee was established to ensure the progress of the SRC.
- Representatives from the facilities committee and the Executive Vice President of SGA continued to meet with students and University representatives to discuss the construction of a new SRC. This included discussions about cost, fees, design, and donor options. (Fall 2010 & Spring 2011)
- Travis Gault served as the student representative on the committee that selected the architect and design team for the SRC. Travis is the SGA Graduate Student Council President and a senator on the SGA facilities committee. (February 2011)
- SGA President Sana Abhari and SGA EVP Deep Aggarwal had a meeting with CPE President Bob King to discuss eligibility criteria for having the recreation fee approved by CPE. The SGA representatives continued communicating with CPE staff representatives to make sure SGA was following the CPE criteria for special use fees. (March 2011)
- The University Task Force on Tuition and Fee Setting discussed the proposed recreation fee that was presented by the SGA EVP that would allow for the construction of the SRC. The Task Force includes seventeen members that represent students, faculty, administration, admissions, athletics, HSC, financial aid, governmental relations, communications, and academic planning & accountability. The taskforce overwhelmingly approved the proposal. (March 30, 2011)
- Student representatives had meetings with the architects and design team to provide their input about the layout design and scope of the SRC. (March & April 2011)
- The SGA Executive Board reviewed and unanimously approved the SRC proposal with the corresponding recreation fee. The Executive Board includes council presidents from all twelve colleges at the University. (April 12, 2011)
- The SGA President and Executive VP presented the SRC proposal and the $98.00 fee to the University Board of Trustees. Board members asked questions about the proposal and were supportive of the student initiative. This was an information report and it was agreed that this would be brought forward as a voting item at the next Board meeting. (April 14, 2011)
- Student newspaper ran a front page article about the SGA unveiling plans for a new student recreation center. The article included information about the fee and the forums. (April 19, 2011)
- SGA hosted two forums to discuss the SRC project and the recreation fee that would be required to pay for this new building. The forums were held on April 19 in the student activities center and April 20th in the library. All students were sent a notice about the forums via the weekly electronic student news. Yard signs were posted on campus advertising a forum about the proposed student recreation fee.
- In accordance with the CPE special use fee exception policy students held a student government vote. The SGA Senate discussed and approved (36 yea, 1 nay) the SRC proposal along with the $98.00 recreation fee. The SGA senate is comprised of 49 student elected representatives including student council presidents and senators elected by students representing all 12 colleges at the University. (April 19, 2011)
- The SGA President and Executive VP presented the SRC proposal and the $98.00 fee to the University Board of Overseers. (May 10, 2011)
- The Board of Trustees finance committee unanimously approved the student recreation fee. (May 12, 2011)
- The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the student recreation fee. (June 9, 2011)
- The Council on Postsecondary Education unanimously approved the student recreation fee. (June 10, 2011)
- The Kentucky Legislature Capital Projects and bond Oversight Committee unanimously approved the General Receipts Bonds, 2011 Series A issuance for the new Student Recreation Center (July 19, 2011)
- The new Student Recreation Center (SRC) will be funded by a $98 per semester student recreation fee to be applied to all new students (including graduate and professional students) and be pro-rated, per credit hour for less than full-time students beginning fall 2011. The fee shall be used for construction, debt service, operations, maintenance, furniture, equipment, property and management of student recreation. Once the bond amortization payments for the SRC are completed, the fee would be $48.50. The $48.50 would last throughout the life of the building, given that this building is still being used as a student recreational facility, to cover any programmatic costs not associated with debt service. If the function of this building changes focus for any purpose, this fee must cease to exist. Additionally, any student who is not present in Louisville for an educational experience such as co-op in Speed School, studying abroad, or an internship will be exempt from the $48.50 fee once it goes into effect. All students who pay into the system, prior to the completion of the facility, will receive six months of free access per every semester they pay, without having access to the facility. This access must take place immediately after graduation, and cannot be postponed if the student does not live in the area during that time period.