Although students and employees have free access to a fully equipped gym facility near Brooks City-Base Campus, an estimated 75 of the almost 4,000 students and 30 employees have signed up for a membership, Stone Oak Athletics employee Jennifer Hughes said.
In addition, of the more than 100 members from the Texas A&M-San Antonio community, Hughes said she sees about 30 at Brooks City-Base Health and Wellness Center, 2860 Louis Bauer, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during her shift each day.
Kinesiology Professor Patricia Holmes is concerned that the University will not fend for an athletic facility because of the low percentage of students who have signed up for a free gym membership.
“It’s time for us to become a university and not an elementary school,” Holmes said. “It’s time to have some recreational sports programs.”
Holmes, who uses the facility for up to 18 hours per week for academic purposes, rationalizes that if students and employees don’t utilize the Brooks gym, there will not be a need to provide services at Main Campus Building.
The effects of low membership and use of the wellness center play a huge part on whether or not there will ever be a gym at Main Campus, Holmes said.
“Right now, there are no plans that I’m aware of for a gym to be built on Main Campus,” Holmes said. “Where am I going to go when this gym lease is up?”
Kenneth Mitts, vice president of finance and administration, said administration has not been provided with any gym usage metrics.
His response suggests the usage of Brooks gym percentages are not a determining factor in whether the University will have recreational sports.
Although a gym is not included in the design of two buildings proposed for 2014, the student fee advisory committee recommended a $40 recreational fee for fall and spring terms and $20 fee for summer terms Feb. 13. After a student referendum March 28-29, the fee was opposed. The fee would have funded intramurals or club sports and a possible recreational facility in the future, as stated in a previous story.
Mitts has stated in budget presentations this month that the Legislature cut the University by about $4.8 million. The University has plans to request funding from the Legislature for additional buildings in the next biennium, fiscal year 2014-15.
The Mesquite reported Nov. 9, 2011, that the 2,200 square foot complex gym offers a full basketball court, free weights, nautilus equipment, cardio rooms, a sauna and a full outside track and field. The gym is located at 2860 Louis Bauer, southeast of Brooks Campus and is free to students and employees with an ID.
A&M-San Antonio has a five-year lease contract with Brooks Development Authority to utilize the facility and Brooks Campus. The Mesquite reported Sept. 20,2011, that Brooks Campus is being leased for $3,276,480.
In the lease agreement, students can sign up for a free membership at the gym, which is facilitated by Stone Oak Athletics.
There is nothing in the contract, however that allows the University or its students to have exclusive usage of the gym. For example, intramural sports could not be started at the facility without additional cost.
“The lease agreement states the University will have non-exclusive usage of the gym,” director of facilities Marshall Lasswell said. “The University and Stone Oak Athletics mutually agreed on a schedule prior to the start of each academic semester.”
Justin Limon, kinesiology senior and Kinesiology Club president, said the club was denied free access to the gym to host University events. He said the club hoped to facilitate 3-on-3 basketball and 5-on-5 football at the gym.
Rick Trefzer, assistant vice president for finance and administration, said the use of the facility for all faculty, staff and students is $52,000 annually, or essentially $1,000 per week.
“To exclusively use the gym, the fee for the lease would be much higher,” Lasswell said. “It’s not A&M’s gym.”
‘I didn’t know we had a gym’
Few students know that a free gym is available, which has resulted in low turnout and few memberships.
“I was running by [the gym],” business management junior Megan Arevallo said. “Then I realized, ‘Wow, there’s a gym.’”
Holmes said, “There are no fliers around campus promoting the gym, nor is there anything on the University website. The only way to get anything is to work with SGA and students and get them involved to utilize the facility.”
Some students found out on their own that there was a gym. From there, word of mouth spread that a gym exists near the Brooks Campus.
“I didn’t even know it was there before she (Arevallo) told me,” international business junior Emad Hijaz said. “There are no signs and I don’t drive that way.”
To become a member, students can fill out a membership form, show a student ID and bring a copy of their account summary to prove current student status. Account summaries can be found when students log into Jaguar Connect and click on the registration tab. Then click on account summary.