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Recreation center seeks student feedback on possible renovations

Recreation center seeks student feedback on possible renovations

Recreation center seeks student feedback on possible renovations
March 31
15:00 2022

A survey from the Pohl Recreation Center sent to thousands of university members last week aims to help the staff determine what renovations to make, says center representatives.

“We emailed 20,000 plus students,” said Britton Sherry, director of programs at the rec center. “We’re attacking it from every different angle.”

The survey was sent to the Chestnut Street building’s “stakeholders” — university students, faculty and staff — so participants could share their opinions on what they believe the rec center needs.

“Once the survey is complete, we’ll have a much better idea of what our stakeholders want,” Sherry said.

The center has not received any major updates since it first opened in 2003, said Sherry. The minor renovations over the last 19 years include carpet changes and updated fitness equipment.

While the survey will likely generate receive more than 1,000 responses, said Sherry, rec center representatives will also hold focus group meetings. The meetings will include student leaders, such as Student Government Association members and campus tour guides, as well as individuals considered “regulars” of the center.

“It’s meant to be an hour and a half conversation about what they liked about rec sports, what they don’t like about rec sports, what things they’d like changed,” Sherry said.

There are already ideas of what upgrades students will ask for, such as a larger weight room or longer open-pool hours, said Sherry.

Music performance senior Carl Galarroza took the survey after seeing it on the rec center’s official app. While he said a larger weight room would be an ideal upgrade, Galarroza also hopes the center will offer better exercise class times for students.

“I wanted more variety on the times that classes are offered,” Galarroza said. “I have class sporadically all throughout the day, but the classes I do want are right when [my] classes are.”

Sherry said until the “master plan” of changes is determined, likely in August, it is unclear how much the upgrades will cost. Depending on the survey results, the center could spend a majority of funds working on a few large-scale projects or several smaller projects.

“We haven’t set any limits on things, but it always comes down to money,” Sherry said.

The rec center is primarily funded through student fees with each student contributing $85.78 per semester as part of their tuition, according to the center’s website.

“We’re talking a couple [of] years out before we start really any type of construction or formalized plan,” Sherry said. “What something costs today is not necessarily what it’s going to cost when we start to build in a year or two.”

Two representatives from Counsilman-Hunsaker & Associates Inc., an aquatics company listed as the facility’s aquatic designers, attended a focus group meeting to discuss with students what they would hope to see changed. Counsilman-Hunsaker Principal and Studio Director Kevin Post and Studio Director George Deines both attended the university themselves, graduating in 2004 and 2000 respectively.

“Speaking with students is a good way to learn what needs fixing but also what has been working already,” said Deines, who remembered voting as a student for the rec center to first begin construction.

Attending the focus groups will also help the company visualize what changes students are looking for in various outdoor spaces, including the pools, said Post.

“It felt like the pools we have now are kind of intimidating for non-swimmers, not inviting,” Post said. “The idea of having more of a social hangout zone might be something more students will appreciate.”

Once the survey and focus groups are finished, the next step is the compilation of information into a master plan by August, said Post. After an established list of proposed changes is made, the rec center will then reach back out to students for the final say.

“We’ll come back and have some ideas and a brainstorming session with what we can come up with,” Post said. “The real goal is to take it back to the students again to see if it’s supported.”

As of March 29, the survey is still active and can be found at unt.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cIVjbp602ZtI27s.

North Texas Daily File Photo/Sarah Schreiner

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Alex Reece

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