A new student recreation center, with a rock climbing wall
and indoor soccer, volleyball and basketball courts, is nearing completion
at Sonoma State University.
Floors are being placed within the 58,000-square-foot, $15 million facility,
to be paid for over the next 30 years with student fees.
While some students and staff said they're thrilled with the sports facility,
others said they're more concerned about the number of classes being offered
in the fall.
"Everybody I know seems pretty excited," said senior Brad Masterson.
"But at the same time, the class cuts kind of outweigh the excitement."
SSU administrators anticipate more than a 200-student decrease in enrollment
this fall, while about 250 temporary employees could lose their jobs,
because of budget cuts.
Fewer teachers mean fewer classes to choose from.
"I think it's ridiculous we're closing classes and getting rid of
teachers, while students are paying for a new gym," said Mac Beauchemin,
customer service coordinator in the SSU School of Extended Education.
When the recreation center opens Aug. 25, students will no longer have
to share athletic facilities with school sports teams, said Pam Su, recreation
director for the Student Union student association.
Masterson, a business major and member of the SSU soccer team, said he
often has to wait during the school day to use equipment in the weight
room, which the soccer team reserves three mornings of the week during
the soccer season.
He said he is most excited about the indoor soccer field. "The other
gym was outdated and small, and the equipment was kind of rusted,"
To fund the new center, students approved an $80 increase in the Student
Union fee two years ago. Students must now pay a fee of $194 a year, a
rate that will increase in a formula tied to the cost of living. Total
student fees and tuition are now $2,932 a year, an increase of 30 percent
over last year.
Senior Sarah Charamuga, who exercises on campus, said she voted for the
A fee increase of $97 a semester, the current total, is reasonable when
compared to the cost of nearby gyms, she said.
SSU students can use the new facility at no cost. Faculty, staff and alumni
can purchase memberships, Su said, the cost of which has not been set.
But some staff members who exercise off campus said a new sports facility
Beauchemin of the School of Extended Education exercises at the Rohnert
Park community center. He said he used campus facilities before graduating
from the university a few years ago.
"I think our old gym is good enough," he said. "I didn't
have a problem with it."
The new facility, which sits next to the university's new Schulz Information
Center, is largely aimed at the increased number of students living on
campus, Su said. More than 2,000 of the university's 7,000 students lived
on campus last year, and 1,500 lived in nearby neighborhoods, she said.
The recreation center will include a jogging track, rooms for dance, aerobics
and martial arts, a game room and a massage therapy center.