By Brandon Cruz
In the day and age where new is always better, it seems like there are smarter places the University of Nevada, Reno, could spend its money. Parking, lecture sizes and space on campus, are just a few of many problems students are facing as the university continues to expand. So why is it that UNR went on to build a new fitness center instead of combating real problems?
The new gym puts UNR up to par with other schools athletically; however, it might not be a half-bad idea to push the new recreational center back a few years. The delay of this enormous project would allow the university to create enough parking structures, to sustain the student body and to entertain the next large influx of freshmen and transfer students. There isn’t a desperate need for a new gym, because Lombardi accommodates all the needs of your average athlete already. Sure, it may not have the luxuries of other high-end gyms, but if you’re a little innovative with your workouts, you can get just as much done. One daunting fact about the E. L. Wiegand Fitness Center is that all short-meter parking in front of the Joe Crowley Student Union is now nonexistent. Not only is the gym being built as a priority over parking, it’s also taking away parking spaces! In Nevada Today, Vice President of Student Services Shannon Ellis stated that the new fitness center is to help “develop students’ mind, body and spirit.” Not many students will be thinking about how well their mind, body or spirit has developed while they’re freezing walking from their cars to class come spring semester. This makes this expansion appear to be more for looks than student convenience; because when it comes to necessities, more available parking closer to campus, is much more important than a gym.
Another addition to this campus that would be more useful than a gym, would be more lecture halls for students. The class of 2015 boasted the largest freshman class to date. As long as Nevada doesn’t have any serious hiccups, the following freshman classes are predicted to gain size yearly. This does not bode well for lecture and discussion sizes. This year, through observation alone, any student or faculty member can clearly see that the amount of students in classrooms has increased. I’ve personally been impacted by this problem. Just last Thursday, my music appreciation class was filled to the brim. Due to the lack of seats, multiple students were forced to take their test standing, or sitting on the ground. While an overflow of students may not affect the entire student body as of now, in a year or two it will.
Furthermore, as the university begins to swell, transportation may become limited to only foot traffic. At peak hours, it is almost impossible for even the most skilled biker or skater to weave their way through crowds on their way to class. If anything, their use of transportation is a danger to students traveling by foot, during primetime hours. These traffic jams of people not only impede bicyclists and skateboarders, but also the everyday person in a hurry. Sometimes it’s impossible to maneuver your way around these large crowds, and you’re stuck walking at a pace that might, just make you miss the quiz at the beginning of your class. Just something else Nevada should’ve looked into before deciding to build a state-of-the-art gym.
Parking, new lecture halls and space on campus are just a few places where Nevada could use improvements. It’d make a great deal of sense for the campus to address theses issues, before taking on less serious as issues specifically the E. L. Wiegand Fitness Center.
Brandon Cruz studies journalism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @brandon_cruz23.