Successive Approximations

NC State Justifying Rebuilding The Gym

NC State Justifying Rebuilding The Gym

I graduated from NC State University in 2011, so I still see news about it come across my feed, like this item talking about leveling and rebuilding the main gym on campus, right across the street from the student center that was also just leveled and rebuilt. What surprised me was the way that the renovation was being spun.

“Yes, we do need new fitness space, but it’s more than that. Our design has been very purposeful. New meeting spaces will allow us to invite more campus partners who support wellness and provide them better access to students,” Hawkes said. “We see 80 percent of NC State’s undergraduate students, so we see our role expanding to ensure that students know about the services available to them. We can bring Financial Aid, Dining, staff from the Counseling Center and so many others to our space.


“A gym is no longer a place where students want to go and just work out. It’s become a social hub and so much more,” Schmidt said.

It looks to me a lot more like it's being turned into a recruiting tool. Why do you need floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a room with six different types of exercise?

So it looks good in brochures and tours. That's my best guess anyway.

But fine, I paid my fees while I was there, got my degree and I'm gainfully employed in my career now. What they want to do with the campus is their business. But then I read this:

Student Government passed a resolution in September 2015 approving a student fee to help fund the project, setting in motion more than two years of work to figure out needs, designs and construction timelines.

“Students accepting a fee in today’s climate? That’s pretty special, and the student leaders are willing to pay it forward. They recognize the value and benefit of the space we’re creating,” Hawkes said. “I give them a tremendous amount of credit for thinking about more than what’s on their plate today.”

Schmidt said the approval of the $92.50 Carmichael Addition and Renovation Fee highlights the trust students put in Wellness and Recreation.


“The current generation on campus has benefited greatly from Talley Student Union, and that is a similar project. Students agreed to pay for it and deal with all of the construction knowing they wouldn’t be the ones to benefit from it,” he said. “I see the same potential for the new Wellness and Recreation Center to transform student life on campus.”

And that's just wrong. That was happening while I was a student. When they put the issue to a referendum, the referendum was voted down (second source). The student government ignored the referendum results, which asked us to pay $300 a year for a student center we never would get to use.

They're free to charge whatever they want for tuition and fees and if people pay it, fine. But pretending like the students are "accepting" the fee is at best mis-remembering history.

I note they did not even go through the formality of a student referendum for renovating the gym.

Ben Berry

I don't have comments on my posts, but if you want to reach me, email me at my first name at