Officials say unexpected amount of students purchased summer passes at Rec Center

BY ZACHARY POUND | JULY 14, 2011 7:20 AM

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Officials at the University of Iowa Campus Recreation & Wellness Center had no expectations leading into their first summer.

But even with a majority of students home for a few months, officials said more students purchased summer passes then they had anticipated.

“We didn’t know what to expect for this summer,” said Kerry DuBay, the associate director of membership services and marketing in Recreational Services. “The number of students getting memberships for the summer actually turned out to be higher than we had initially thought.”

Since May 1, 1,518 students have bought the $55 membership, which gives them full access to the center. Students enrolled in summer courses at the UI — this year 9,011 — have full access to the center. The fee is part of university fees.

DuBay said the fee was always part of the summer plan. But to the displeasure of some students, it may not always be the same price.

Next summer, and for summers to come, DuBay said, the price will likely rise as tuition increases.

“This fee will rise over time,” DuBay said “The summer fee is the same as the mandatory student fee, so as student fees increase, so will the summer fee.”

The state Board of Regents voted to increase tuition by 5 percent for in-state students and 6 percent for out of state students last March.

Students were mixed on whether they would continue to pay a summer fee, especially if it goes up.
UI junior Daniel Gillen, 20, said he didn’t have a problem with paying the $55 fee this summer, and he wouldn’t be too upset about a rise in price in the future because he goes to the gym enough to make it worth paying the price.

Matt McGinnis, 20, and Paul McCoy, 21, said they believe that the price they paid this summer was already too high.

“We shouldn’t have to pay an extra fee for the summer if we’ve been paying the whole rest of the year,” McGinnis said.

Both students said they probably would not buy a membership in the future if the price rises.

Despite the unexpected number of students who purchased passes, officials said overall foot-traffic at the Recreation Center has been down in comparison with when classes are in session.

Kim Jamriska, the Recreation Center facilities coordinator, said daily attendance during the school year varies between 5,000 and 6,000.

In the summer, the number drops to between 1,400 and 2,500.

But despite the lower attendance, shorter hours, and number of summer memberships, officials said they haven’t had to worry about their budget.

“More than just memberships goes into the budget,” DuBay said.

Student memberships aside, the Rec Center also has 5,246 facility, staff, affiliate, retiree, alumni, and community memberships, which have not increased since summer began. There has, however, been an increase in walk-ins who wish to use the pool, DuBay said.

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