Campus Recreation cuts hours, some student jobs
Missionary age change may be reason
Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 12:01
Campus Recreation shortened hours at the Fieldhouse, cut lap swim times at the HPER and decreased the number of student employees this semester to prepare for a potential budget cut caused by a drop in USU’s student enrollment.
The department’s budget is expected to drop by $10,000-$30,000, caused in part by the missionary age change announced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in October, according to Kevin Kobe, director of Campus Recreation.
“We have to do something,” Kobe said. “We can’t just wait and then hope that we don’t have this drop.”
The missionary announcement was a good time to decide how efficiently the programs under Campus Recreation are run, Kobe said. After assessing the number of students who participated and when, it was decided to cut early morning lap swim at the HPER as well as early morning hours at the Fieldhouse, he said. The service desk by the locker rooms will also open later and close earlier.
Kobe said the reduction in hours brought about a reduction in employees. The number of student employees before the cut was around 70, not counting officials and scorekeepers employed during intramurals.
Kobe said while the changes caused contention from community members who come to the HPER pool for early morning lap swim as well as Campus Recreation employees, it was important to stay ahead of things to ensure the department does not go in the red.
“First, we have to save money,” Kobe said. “Secondly, we have to minimize the impact on students.”
Campus Recreation is one of the divisions of Student Services hit by the budget cut because it is entirely funded by students, Kobe said. Campus Recreation is in charge of commonly used facilities like the Fieldhouse and the HPER pool. The department also runs intramurals, club sports, the Fun-Fit-Forever program, the Outdoor Recreation Program and staffs the desk by the locker rooms in the HPER building.
The effects of the sudden loss in student fees to the entire campus won’t be apparent until the end of January, when the final drop deadline solidifies the number of students actually enrolled at USU, said James Morales, vice president of Student Services.
“Based on our initial projections for spring semester, we think we’ll be down about 250 students,” Morales said.
The numbers are not nearly as dramatic as university officials initially projected last fall, Morales said. The missionary age change announced by the LDS church caused a stir on Utah campuses as more students than usual chose to leave college to serve missions. Originally they thought the university could lose 1,350 students to missions this semester, he said.
However, losing 250 students would still mean a drop in roughly $112,000 in student fees, Morales said.
Now the situation to consider is the long-term effects of losing students over the course of the next two years, until the first batch of sudden missionaries returns. Morales said he estimates the university will lose 1,900 students over the next two years. The university is considering ways to compensate for that, including looking for ways to be efficient with student funds.
“We don’t know the impact of that yet, so we might as well prepare for it,” Kobe said.