A third recreation facility will be built on campus after the Texas A&M Board of Regents approved plans for a $35 million South Campus Recreation Center to allow more places for students to exercise on campus.
The facility will be located near the Southside dorms adjacent from the golf courses and will allow the student population on the south end of A&M’s main campus to more easily access a Rec Center. Director of Recreational Sports Rick Hall said that this could increase the Rec Center’s use in the later hours of the day, as students will not have to walk as far.
“Knowing we are really crowded at the existing rec center, the opportunity to provide more space is a great idea,” Hall said. “We are bringing the rec center to you.”
Hall said according to The National Intramural Recreational Sports Association, Texas A&M’s west campus Rec Center was under the recommended square footage of recreational facilities, due to the increasing population of students enrolling in the university.
“Enrollment has grown so fast and we have not kept up,” Hall said. “By opening these two, the Polo Road and the Southside facilities, we get very close to meeting the standard.”
Associate Director of Strength & Conditioning and Fitness & Wellness, Jerod Wilson said the reason the centers have not grown as fast as the student population is due to the fees, which are included in student tuition. Knowing a fee increase would impact students, a promotion for a student vote entitled “Vote Rec” was created and allowed students to vote on whether or not to increase the student recreation fee. The initiative passed in 2018.
“It allows us to expand our facilities and recreational services to the Texas A&M community,” Wilson said. “Our goal with both satellite facilities is [that rec] easier to get to, easier to access and have less waits.”
With over 80 percent of students using the facilities, according to Wilson, it can become overcrowded very easily.
Wilson said that there are many machines and areas in the Rec Center that have heavy wait times due to the high percentage of usage. The new facility will have things that are more widely used such as basketball and volleyball courts, and a large strength and conditioning area.
“We think that it will alleviate some crowding but also be more convenient,” Wilson said. “With the quad and people living on campus it will be able to get there really easy with just a short walk.”
After seeing that there was a need for more recreation centers, staff at A&M including President Michael K. Young said in an article on Texas A&M Today that they have been invested in making sure that students fulfill both their educational and health needs.
“In recent years, Texas A&M has invested heavily in several facilities designed to enhance the educational experience,” Young said in the article. “With this new recreation center, we’re supporting our students’ health and well-being, which are essential to helping them succeed not only in the classroom, but also in life.”
Hall said that there have been many students that use rec sports to help with stress and other struggles in college. He said that it is important for students to remember to take care of themselves in order to stay healthy.
“Being able to exercise, the data supports that it is such a bonus for the well being of any student or any person, for that matter,” Hall said.
The South Campus Recreation Center project is set to be completed in 2022.