Starting in the fall of 2015, new students at Texas A&M University-Commerce will see a Morris Recreation Center (MRC) fee increase from $65 a semester to $150 a semester, and $32.50 per summer session to $150 a summer session.

Although the new fee will not affect current students or members of the MRC, any new student will pay the updated amount.

“Due to guaranteed tuition and fees,” a referendum flyer read, “the recreational sports fee would increase by $85 for newly admitted students beginning in the fall of 2015. Current students will continue to pay their present intuition recreational sports fee.”

According to the Director of Campus Recreation Rick Rosenstengle and Associate Director of Operations Jerome Osborne, the recreational sports fee for A&M-Commerce students has remained $65 a semester since the facility opened in 2003. When campus recreation staff learned that A&M-Commerce has the second highest enrollment in the Texas A&M system but among the lowest for sports recreation fee, staff saw a need for an increase. After more than 10 years, the MRC staff believed it was fair to increase the fee so that the facility can improve.

Among those improvements include an MRC expansion with a 30,000 square foot outdoor multi-activity court (MAC) for soccer, volleyball and special events programming; a 10,650 square foot expansion for weight and cardio equipment; 2,100 square foot activity room for fitness programming and student activities; 2,200 square foot functional training space for personal training; TRX, kettle bell training and stretching; and 2,200 square feet expansion for additional rock climbing space, table tennis and special event programming.

The increase in fees will also allow campus recreation to “meet and expand student service needs in intramural sports, club sports, fitness, outdoor adventure, special events, aquatics and informal recreation programs,” the flyer reads.

Also with the new funding, campus recreation will be able to repair and replace old machines and equipment, hours of operation will increase with four more hours per week during the fall and spring, two more hours per week during the summer and 12 hours per week during the break and mini sessions and more on-campus student employment.

Another area that will see improvement is aquatics.

“Aquatics is an expensive endeavor,” Rosenstengle said, also mentioning that the money and work is worth it to meet the needs of students and participants. Rosenstengle hopes to replace and repair the spa and pool area at the MRC in the next few years.

Because of the increase in fees, campus recreation will ask for less funding from the student service fee. Currently, campus recreation is given $770,000 from student service fees. That number will drop steadily to the rec asking for $400,000 less in fiscal year 2019. This way, other student organizations and groups can get the funding they need to function and grow, Rosenstengle said.

Before implementing the new fee, the MRC called for a student vote to make sure it was fair. About 2,030 students voted, and the fee passed with a 70 percent rate.

Rosenstengle and Osborne hope to continue this pattern of cooperation and are listening for students’ ideas about new programming and events.

“We’ve thought about programs, but we want to work with students and staff to meet their needs,” Rosenstengle said.

For current or new MRC members who are not students or faculty of A&M-Commerce, campus recreation staff are currently working to set a new and fair price that will still allow for facility growth and improvement.

“We just got the news about the referendum passing, and we’re setting the price for the community,” Rosenstengle said.

To learn more about the referendum, email Rosenstengle at rick.rosenstengle@tamuc.edu.