MU rec complex to close during home football games

Friday, September 12, 2008 | 6:17 p.m. CDT; updated 5:58 p.m. CST, Friday, December 19, 2008

COLUMBIA — Sorry, non-football fans: No more having the gym to yourselves while the Tigers are on the field.

The MU Student Recreation Complex will now close during home football games, beginning at kick-off, and will remain closed the entire day.

The reason for the new policy is two years' worth of data showing the complex is little-used during games, said Laura Salerno, assistant director of membership and events.

"We noticed that (in) our usage patterns during home football games, there was substantial drop-off in facility usage during games and the rest of the day," she said. "The benefits associated with maintaining the facility did not justify the expense."

Hours have already been cut back this semester. During the 2007-08 school year, the MU rec complex was open until midnight Monday through Thursday and until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Now, the complex closes at 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and at 8 p.m. Saturdays.

Salerno said the reason for the change is a substantial drop-off during those final hours in the amount of people in the building that didn't justify keeping it open.

Not all students are happy about the complex's new hours.

MU graduate student Arica Henderson said she doesn't usually attend games and appreciates businesses remaining open for non-football fans.

"As much money as I have paid for the student rec center, I would like it to cater to the needs of as many people as possible, not just football game-goers, even if they are the majority," Henderson said. "Of course, I could run around my neighborhood, or do sit-ups in my apartment, but if you're asking me about the rec, I prefer to work out there."

Justin Pannullo, an MU senior, thinks this change in policy is wrong and that it could hurt non-students the most.

"There are more than just students, there are people who pay to use the rec center," he said. And with the complex closing more frequently, he said, "they're not getting their money's worth."

Pannullo also said that the new policy could prevent some patrons from being able to use the complex when it's most convenient for them.

"On the weekends, you can't close down a facility like this on the assumption that everyone's going to be at the football games," he said. "Some people don't have the weekdays to work out, and they need the weekends."

MU junior Mandy Shimizu thinks the biggest problem is that the complex will remain closed after the game ends, which she said will disrupt her workout schedule.

She also said the closure will cancel Tiger X classes, such as cycling or yoga, that she typically attends on Saturdays. Those classes are not included in the mandatory student recreation fee.

Recreation fees continue to rise. Students enrolled in more than six credit hours now pay $133.11 per semester in recreation fees, compared to a per-semester fee of $129.74 during the spring.

Salerno said student fees go toward the complex's operating budget.



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