Alumni: Don’t expect free use of athletic center

caption (John Kruger)
Graduating in May? Expect to pay to use the building you've watched from the ground up. (John Kruger)

Students who will graduate before the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex opens may never have a chance to use the facilities for “free,” although no official plans have been made yet.

The goal will be to make revenue on the facility, so alumni will need to buy a membership.

“Until we really move in and see what the pattern of usage of our students is, I think you wouldn’t want to start scheduling other people in there and take time from students and things like that,” Athletic Director Steve Fritz said. “So we really want to find that out first.”

In the past, a few alumni purchased memberships to use the old facilities, paying about $75 per year to use the facilities when they were open, Fritz said.

The completion of the athletic center will be a welcomed site for those who have become frustrated with cramped workout facilities on campus.

“We’re all kind of obsessed with working out here, I think, so it’s just good to know that they saw that and they’re going to do something about it,” junior Stephanie Renckens said.

The number of improvements from the old facilities to the new are many.

In the past, track and field events could not be held at St. Thomas because the track was 167 meters, not the standard 200 meters. Fritz said the track was mainly used for training, even though it was too small for that as well. The new track will be 200 meters, and the field house will include a large curtain so multiple activities can be held at once.

The pool in O’Shaughnessy Hall was built in 1938, had only five lanes and wasn’t deep enough for diving in addition to leaking about an inch of water a day, according to Fritz. The new pool will have eight lanes for racing and recreational swimming, a diving area with a 1- and 3-meter boards and seating for about 250 spectators.

Stephani Bloomquist can be reached at

20 Replies to “Alumni: Don’t expect free use of athletic center”

  1. I honestly hadn’t even thought about using the new athletic facilities… They don’t let alumni into concerts either. Once you graduate, you kind of give up a lot of the little perks of being a student. And plus… “real” gyms usually have free parking right in front, so one less reason for me to go to this one. And Matt… unless you didn’t get ANY financial aid from st. thomas, and didn’t take any classes, buy any meals, or go to any free events on campus, i think your number might be a little off… 
    Also, I honestly don’t think this is really all that unheard of if/when they decide to charge alumni to use the facilities, but judging from some of the BMWs with personalized license plates in the garage, maybe theres a bit too much sense of entitlement among some students…. 
    Fair is fair, in the real world, people pay for gym memberships.

  2. Some school administrations actually care about their students and alumni. I know that this is one student who will never donate another dime to this school.

  3. Tony, it’s the same group of benevolent administrators who are building this thing while still forcing staff into early retirement, blowing off December commencement, deciding to charge on campus students for laundry, and really doing everything short of turning campus upside down and shaking out the spare change. Don’t blame people for feeling like they are getting fleeced.

  4. Jon- is there a difference between forced early retirement and offering an early retirement option? And I certainly understand the frustration, but I’m not certain it’s fair to say the administration doesn’t care about us… I know many administrators take a personal interest in the success of UST students. There might be administrators that don’t, but even if there are, I think we should be careful about lumping them all together.

  5. I’m curious…when did being an alum of this school entitle one to all of the benefits of being a student?  I don’t got back to my old high school and go to the football games or prom, yet people are up in a tizzy because it might cost money to use facilities at a school that said people don’t go to anymore?  The logic here isn’t making sense.  When you’re at a school, you get the sweet perks.  When you leave a school, welcome to the real world.  People pay for things.  

  6. Alright John, here’s my evidence.
    -free concerts
    -free shirts (whether you want them or not) at many events
    -the campus is always well kept and has many areas for students to enjoy such as the two libraries, the grotto, and many new buildings and current projects for the betterment of the campus. 

    My mom works at St. Thomas in the health service and I know SHE cares about the students, as does every co-worker of her’s that I’ve met in the 4 and a half years I spent at st. thomas, and I think that many of them would be (and probably are, since a lot of staff read this site too) offended that you’d make the judgement that they don’t care about students. This school and it’s students are their LIFE. 
    Realize though, that in addition to being a place for students, the university is also a business, and businesses need money to operate. 
    Personally , I wouldn’t plan on using the facilities once they opened even if they WERE free. I’ll just get a gym membership if i want one, and go somehwere that’s not in the center of a busy neighborhood with a lack of free parking.

  7. Tony- As a senior, I think my situation is definitely different than the other classes considering that I have had my access to athletic facilities taken away from me for a year (don’t even try to call the weight room under the bleachers an athletic facility). The least they could do is give the senior class a one year membership to the new building, I’m pretty sure we’re paying for it in our tuition.

  8. I haven’t been to (or really seen) what they have set up under the bleachers. There’s still koch gym though, isn’t there? That’s got most types of weights and other machines… But i’d say good luck getting a free membership from them i guess… do you even plan on living in the neighborhood after this year?

  9. Sorry but calling the koch gym a weight room facility is like saying Keana Reeves deserved an Oscar for his performance in The Replacements. Its mostly a running facility and thats about it. My point isn’t that I personally want a membership for a year and that I’m going to try (I probably will live within 10 minutes of campus though); its that the situation of this year’s senior class is unique to other alumni in that we haven’t even had half-way decent or respectable facilities for our senior year. Everyone older than us at least had 4 years of OSH and everyone younger than us will at least get to use the new building for a year.

  10. I have tried multiple times to set up meetings and times to discuss various issues with many administrators on campus and have only been turned away. All that I wish to do is talk with them and show them my point of view even if their answer is still no. I believe that there are many staff on campus that do care about the students very much but they are not the administrators making the larger decisions that ultimately affect students. I have known many people even in USG that do not feel they have any say. All they really do is plan what to do with money that is allocated to them by the administrators and that is where their job ends. I have been to a couple of other colleges and universities that I have felt a completely different atmosphere on their campus because of the student involvement that can be felt immediately. I just think it is a shame that students do not have more say in what happens on this campus and that when students do try to raise their opinions and teach a different point of view that they are turned away and completely ignored. I have felt this many different times and have actually been told by the office of campus life to “just drop it” when I was trying to have them help me connect with administrators on campus because they said that I couldnt help me

  11. set up that meeting with an administrator that would actually meet with me. I believe that on top of providing all that great programming that they do, that the office of campus life is supposed to be a resource to assist students in connecting and trying to make a difference on the campus.

  12. Oh ya, one more thing, all those “free shirts” and everything else is actually paid for by you and me via our “activities fee” that everyone has to pay whether they benefit from those handouts or not. I am not saying that an activity fee is a bad thing, I think it very necessary as a club president/founder but that you should not be so quick to be wowed by cheap t-shirts that is only free advertising, that you paid for, for the campus every time you put one on…

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