ASUW Secures Funding for Half Acre Gym Improvements
For the past three years, the University of Wyoming has been planning, preparing, and persuading various administrators and legislators that Half Acre Gym needs a renovation. To date, they have found much success, but there are still a few hurdles to jump before construction begins. Significant progress has been made this past year under the leadership of ASUW President Megan Degenfelder and Senator Hunzeker, who have spent countless hours in Cheyenne working with legislatures to secure funding for the renovation.
Thanks to their diligence, the state has promised $15 million for the renovation, $3 million more than ASUW originally asked the legislature for, according to Joel Defebaugh, ASUW Senator. The funds will become official once the budget is formally approved by the legislature and signed by the governor.
However, $15 million is not quite enough for the renovation of Half Acre that ASUW envisions. Therefore, an additional $12 million will need to be raised. This money will be raised through student fees, according to Defebaugh. However, students will pay this fee over the course of 20 years, and the fee increase will not be charged to students until the renovation is completed. This will protect current students from paying for a facility that they may not use. Defebaugh also said that with the additional help from the legislature, each student will only face an increase of $84 per year instead of $120 per year once the gym is completed. The student fee increase was approved three or four senates ago, according to Defebaugh, and there was student support for the increase when it passed, as well as several open-forum meetings to discuss the increase.
Student should be grateful for the legislature’s support since CSU’s proposed gym facility will cost its students $65 million, and the Colorado State Legislature is offering no support for the facility. All costs will be paid by student fee increases.
The next step in the process is to bid and hire contractors to complete the renovation. The University of Wyoming, rather than ASUW, will handle this aspect of the renovation. Hopefully, the ground breaking will begin February 2013.
Defaugh says that “overall, students are just excited about the new gym facility.” And they should be excited, since the blue prints for the project are impressive. Plans include expanding Half Acre to the east and the north for the original facility. The main entrance will be moved towards the library side of the facility. There will be two more all-purpose courts added, an expanded track, more exercise studios, more classrooms, improved racquetball quarts, a hot tub, as well as a full rock climbing wall in the shape of a spire. When complete, there cardio and open workout area’s space will be doubled.
While it may take another year to get through the final hoops and break the ground, the project has gained much momentum, and future students will get to enjoy its benefits.