INSIDE Chico State
0 February 22, 2001
Volume 31 Number 11
  A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
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From the President's Desk

Manuel A. Esteban
Manuel A. Esteban

(Photo by Jeff Teeter)

Wildcat Activity Center

On March 7 and 8, CSU, Chico students will vote in a referendum to determine whether they will levy a fee increase on themselves to permit the Associated Students to build a state-of-the-art recreation center and intramural facility as well as an aquatic center. Although the need for a facility such as this has been under discussion for more than 10 years, it has taken the present group of A. S. officers, led by President Jeff Iverson, to attempt to turn this dream into reality.

The A.S. commissioned a consulting group to analyze the recreational facilities now available at our institution, to compare them against national standards, and to conduct a student survey to determine what students would like to see offered at CSU, Chico. They found that our facilities are woefully inadequate, that they compare poorly against national norms, and that what our students want cannot be provided by the university, given our current facilities.

So, if the referendum is approved, the Wildcat Activities Center (WAC) would offer what students indicated they most wanted: a weight and fitness area, four gymnasium courts for open recreation, recreation sports, intramurals, one multi-activity court for indoor soccer, roller hockey, basketball, volleyball, and concerts, an elevated running track, three multi-purpose studios for dance, aerobics, and martial arts, an indoor rock climbing wall, a juice bar and pro shop, Adventure Outings equipment rental area, men's and women's locker rooms, and a drop-off child care area. A critical element is that students overwhelmingly wanted this facility right on campus. This is a condition for Associated Students' support of this referendum.

The WAC would be 125,000 square feet and would have two stories. The Aquatic Center would add an additional 45,000 square feet and contain a large Olympic–size pool for lap swimming, a leisure pool, a warm–water spa, and a sauna.


Why is such a facility necessary?

  1. The number one priority of the Strategic Plan for the Future of California State University, Chico states that "Believing in the primacy of student learning, we will continue to develop high-quality learning environments both inside and outside of the classroom." It further states that the university will provide "opportunities for intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual, and physical growth." This facility gives us the opportunity to create an environment for wellness, for the growth and well-being of the whole individual.
  2. The university has been providing student recreational and intramural activity as part of its regular programs for decades. The indoor facilities for these activities are old, inflexible, and substantially inadequate for the university's enrollment. There is tremendous unmet demand for indoor recreational facilities. For instance, four sports have waiting lists of 12 teams each. One sport has a waiting list of 26 teams. Other sports cannot access facilities until around midnight. Some activities are scheduled now in building lobbies, and still others cannot be accommodated at all. These conditions are not surprising. At CSU, Chico, we have 4.7 square feet per student of shared space for recreational purposes. The existing space is shared with athletics and physical education. The industry standard is 9 to 13 square feet per student of dedicated space. At CSU, Chico, we have absolutely no dedicated space for student recreation. This new activity center would go a long way in meeting the clear need for more recreational and intramural space.
  3. This comprehensive, centrally located recreation and intramural facility would provide a safe and alcohol-free environment on campus as well as a positive focus for students to meet and develop friendships.
  4. It will allow us to remain competitive in an increasingly competitive educational environment. Many of the campuses with which we compete for students either have exceptional recreational facilities or are about to build them through student-approved increases in student fees.


Where would the WAC be located?

The Aquatic Center would probably be built where we now have the putting green, along Warner Street. The WAC would be between First and Second Streets, near the railroad tracks. This would necessitate the removal of the Reynolds and Stiles warehouses (a new warehouse would be built at another, still unknown location).


How much would it cost?

Including the cost of replacing Reynolds and Stiles warehouses, it is estimated that the WAC and the Aquatic Center would total about $65 million.


What is the proposed timeline for construction of the WAC?

As proposed, the Aquatic Center would open to students in the 2003-2004 academic year while the WAC would be completed during 2005.


Who would have access to the WAC?

This is to be primarily a recreation and intramural facility for CSU, Chico students. Faculty and staff will be able to purchase passes for a fee yet to be determined but no less than the fee assessed to students. Because of the impact such a facility may have on local fitness clubs, the A.S. and the university have agreed to limit access to the WAC to only students, faculty, and staff. Neither relatives of these groups nor CSU, Chico alumni nor retired faculty and staff nor the general public will be able to use the facilities.

This project would greatly benefit the students and enhance the aesthetic beauty of the campus, primarily the southwest area. Needless to say, I hope the referendum is successful.

Manuel A. Esteban

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