Fifty-two percent of more than 3,300 students voted earlier this week to approve a $100 fee per semester to build a new fitness center at Tennessee Tech University.
The vote was the product of a bill passed unanimously by the Student Government Association that called for a referendum about the building.
Plans for the fitness center will include six gyms, a climbing wall, a weight room three times the size of the existing one and more aerobics space.
The current building opened in 1991 when the university had approximately 6,000 students on campus. Now that there are nearly 12,000 students at TTU, the space is too small to meet demand and accommodate hundreds of intramural teams, fitness classes and other activities.
The proposed building is designed to accommodate an anticipated growth of at least 15,000 students in the next five years. It will also have specialized spaces for veterans returning to school, people with disabilities, senior citizens and other users with specialized needs.
It will cost approximately $40 million and the building could be built within 16-24 months if all goes smoothly, according to David Mullinax, director of TTU Campus Recreation. Building plans are still flexible, and students are welcome and invited to give input on the plans.
During the three days of voting, Fitness Center employees and graduate students were at the voting stations and floating around campus talking to students about the vote.
“We talked to a lot of students one-on-one and once they understood what we were trying to do, they supported it,” Mullinax said. “It’s going to be a magnificent space and it’s an investment in their campus for them and future generations of students.”
The fitness center is one of several large construction projects planned.
Over the summer, the university will begin expansion of the intramural parking lot to stretch behind the Averitt Baseball Complex and the other half of Tech Village. A science complex is also planned and fundraising efforts have already begun.
All of these projects are part of the campus master plan, which is available here: http://www.tntech.edu/strategicplanning/campus-master-plan/.