Recreation center pleas for funding to stay open

Senate looks for ways to fund Rec center. Photo courtesy

The first meeting held by the Florida A&M University Student Government Association this year was this Wednesday via Zoom. During the Lobbying and Speakers Forum, the Hansel Tookes Recreation Center requested over $30,000 in order to cover Other Personal Services and groundskeeping expenses.

Assistant Director of Programs, George Heimbach, was in attendance to request special allocation for the Campus Rec Center. Accompanying Heimbach in this request was Vice-Chairman Zachary Bell.

“I think it’s really important that we give the Rec what they need, especially during a time like this. Students oftentimes need an outlet and the Rec Center has the most foot traffic on campus other than campus dining halls,” Bell.

Before they are scheduled to open, the Campus Rec Center needs a total of $32,556. According to Heimbach, $23,000 is needed to cover customer service expenses while the other $9,284 is needed to cover groundskeeping expenses.

The Recreation Center hopes to open on Feb. 1, but whether or not they will be able to remain open depends on the amount SGA can allocate to them.

OPS staff is an important part of operating the rec during the pandemic. The front desk staff is responsible for cleaning and maintaining the facility. If this request cannot be met, Heimbach is doubtful they can continue under their normal hours of operation.

“To be truthful, we’re on a skeleton crew right now… The reason that we submit that budget every year is because that’s how to do it right.  We have to make sure that we’re adhering to industry standards and we do have a legal duty to do that. Not to mention—the main thing is serving [the students] the right way,” Heimbach said.

Since they are working on a tight budget, Senate President Shanel Brown is hoping a shift in the hours would amend some of the limitations that the Rec Center is facing.

“We don’t have the funds right now to give you the full request that you’re asking, so I’m trying to work with other branch heads within student government to see how much money we can give,” said Brown.

A decision is yet to be made, but Brown hopes after discussing with branch heads, they can allocate the money to cater to the students that are on campus since in-person classes have returned.