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Facilities-use fee rescinded

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 06 - September 28, 1995

In response to strong opposition from faculty and staff members to an access fee for use of War Memorial Hall, the university announced on September 12 that they had rescinded the fee. All fees already paid by faculty and staff employees and their family members will be refunded. The mandatory student fee will remain in effect.

Campus groups including the Commission on Classified Staff Affairs (Please see "Commission meets" in the August 31 Spectrum, page 2), were vocal in opposition to the $41.50-per-year facility-access fee. In response to these concerns, university administrators provided information on the fee, which went into effect August 1, and promised to improve procedures related to the fee and to continue to review it (See September 7 Spectrum, page 1).

The fee replaced the pool-membership fee, and allowed access to weight rooms, racquetball courts, gymnasium, pool, and locker rooms. According to Vice President for Student Affairs Landrum Cross, the special-use fee for the pool will not be re-instated, but the locker-and-towel fee will be continued. Revenue from the Recreation Sports budget that was to come from the access fee will be replaced from private sources.

In 1994, the General Assembly authorized the construction of a new Health and Fitness Center that will provide an indoor swimming pool, at least three basketball courts, weight and aerobic rooms, and an elevated track. The total project budget is $20.5 million to construct the approximately 130,000-square-foot facility.

"As we plan for the new Health and Fitness Center, we will need to develop an access fee to cover this specific operation, and will continue to look for alternative means of covering the cost of the War Memorial Hall," Cross said in a September 12 memo to the faculty and staff.

As in the past, certain times will be set aside for dedicated use of War Memorial Hall facilities, such as the noon-1 p.m. time for use of the pool and racquetball courts by faculty and staff members. Other times will be set aside for student use only.

Faculty and staff family members must present a dependent card, available from Recreation Sports in 125E War Memorial Hall, to enter War Memorial Hall. Family members will be restricted to pool use Monday-Friday from 7-9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 2-4 p.m. They may not rent lockers or use the Hokie Gym. Faculty and staff members must accompany family members under age 18.