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YMCA partnership moves forward on ‘good faith’ without agreement


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Although no formal agreement between Wichita State and the Y exists, on the first day of class Wichita State students can walk into a YMCA facility, show their Shocker IDs at the information desk, and proceed with their workouts as full-fledged Y members, according to Vice President for Student Affairs Teri Hall.

The initiative aiming to bring a YMCA to Wichita State within the next few years along with an updated wellness center paid for by a new three-tiered student fee automatically makes WSU students Y members as they wait for the campus facility to open.

The proposal of such a partnership sparked heated debate in the Student Government Association last school year and was rejected by the 59th Session before a similar proposal was approved by the incoming 60th Session.

The fee, which was approved by the Kansas Board of Regents in June, varies by credit hours taken. As a baseline, undergraduate students enrolled in fifteen credit hours can expect to pay $190 per semester towards the wellness center.

Student Body President Paige Hungate said it is time to move past last semester’s arguing and embrace the addition to Innovation Campus.

“The fee is there and it’s happening, so I’m excited to see people warm up to the idea and see that it’s going to be good for students at the end of the day,” Hungate said.

Even without a formal agreement between WSU and the Y, Hall said she was confident about the partnership moving forward.

“Now we’re just inking through what that deal’s going to look like,” Hall said.

Though some students have voiced concerns about what happens if the Y backs out after student fees have already been allocated towards the wellness center, Hall said there is no reason to question enthusiasm on the part of the Y.

“When that question comes up, what I want to say is that if the Y wasn’t into this, there’s no reason why they would start having memberships for all of our students starting August 21st,” Hall said. “If

Pullquote Photo

If they were worried about it, they’d say no, we’re not going to do this but instead they’re going into this with good faith knowing that we’re going to work this through.”

— Teri Hall, vice president for student affairs

they were worried about it, they’d say no, we’re not going to do this but instead they’re going into this with good faith knowing that we’re going to work this through.”

Hall said that over the summer, WSU has been working with the Y towards a smooth transition into the new membership program. This has included contacting students with pre-existing memberships.

“The Y has been communicating with students and if that happens, as I understand it, the membership services folks will refund if there’s a problem and we didn’t catch somebody ahead of time who already had a membership,” Hall said.

Hall said summer developments have also included bigger-picture planning.

“We’ve started having conversations to talk about getting people together and going around to see some buildings this fall that combine health and wellness like in a way we hope to do when we build our wellness center,” Hall said.

According to Hall, Hungate and Student Body Vice President Breck Towner have participated in meetings involving Y representatives and will be on the team of people investigating building designs.

Hall said the facility, which will be located across Mike Oatman Drive from the Eck Stadium parking lot, will take some time to get up and running.

“We’re thinking fall of ’19 probably,” Hall said.

After using the fall to look at building designs, Hall said drawing up plans and getting student feedback could take up to nine months and construction would take between twelve and eighteen months.

Whereas some students have raised concerns that the administration is forcing their agenda upon students with the Y partnership, Hungate said that she, along with other students would play an integral role in the decision-making process.

“It’s not just administration is putting through whatever they want in this wellness center,” Hungate said. “We are very much so part of the process and they are very much so wanting student input.”

Hall said moving forward with the partnership, students can expect to have their voices heard in focus groups discussing issues such as what they want to see in the facility, reasonable prices for drop-in daycare, and how they hope to combine health and wellness aspects into fitness services.

“We’re going to include students in this process all the way through.”



4 Responses to “YMCA partnership moves forward on ‘good faith’ without agreement”

  1. Steve on August 11th, 2017 5:34 pm

    If you add the ymca fee to the athletics fee, a student will pay 4-5 thousand dollars for a gym and sports to earn a bechelors degree. That is crazy if you are going in debt.


  2. Teri Hall and Paige Hungate concerns on August 11th, 2017 6:42 pm

    This article is grating. Teri Hall and Paige Hungates quotes are not easy to read. They sound manipulative and smooth over anything that could question or halt their decisions.

    These are their decisions. They are the ones apart of all the planning and design committees. They are the spokespeople and share no sound balanced concern for reasons why their ideas aren’t the best ideas… focus group bullshit. Focus groups are complete bullshit and are just a way that they can say that they “included” other people.

    WSU is not a good school. Maybe start paying for things like better classrooms. Higher paying salaries FOR TEACHERS and pay cuts for the administration.


  3. All the Way on August 11th, 2017 7:14 pm

    We will now include students All the Way since the decision has been made and the fee approved. Now it is time to listen to students. A $250,000,000 subsidy to the YMCA over many years is crazy when students would have only paid $15M for a completely renovated and expanded Heskett Center with everything the YMCA is supposed to have. How KBOR thought $250M is a better deal for students than $15M is something that should be asked.


  4. Real Shocker on August 13th, 2017 9:51 pm

    This entire deal is fascinating to dissect when you look at history. Many months ago the YMCA supposedly told WSU they were not interested because they could not afford a new facility and did not need it with other YMCA facilities so close. Tomblin told Maki discussions were over with the YMCA. At least the discussions with Maki involved.

    Though the numbers have varied a little, the construction cost of the new YMCA facility was discussed at about $15M. How ironic that $15M is the same amount of money that was needed to renovate and expand the Heskett Center to include additional Campus Recreation space, the Counseling Center, and Student Health that was proposed just a few years back. The Wellness Center concept presented to the WSU Foundation for fundraising opportunities with naming potential.

    So Bardo, Schlapp, and Tomblin talk the WSU Board of Trustees into spending $5M of their precious funds toward the YMCA with a promise that the YMCA will put up $10M or so for the construction. A past Sunflower article stated that WSU students will pay about $5M annually to the YMCA for something like 51 years as it was previously discussed. The YMCA will appear to collect the $5M fee for two years before a new facility opens (according to Hall) which will interestingly give them the $10M they are supposed to commit to the construction costs. Which was supposedly not a priority for the YMCA in the recent past.

    That Sunflower article was from June 23, 2017 and is at:

    How the Kansas Board of Regents was talked into approving not just $15M to build this joint YMCA Wellness Center, but $251M with the $5M per year for 51 years is beyond amazing. Not just because the math is completely nuts, but add to that there is no plan, no facilities toured, no student input, no design, no cost, no contract, no agreement, no _______. You fill in the blank. The Kansas Board of Regents has always been very meticulous about how much detail is needed with facility construction. But not with this deal.

    I guess this is where you queue up Breeze Richardson from the KBOR Office to share that this new way of doing Innovation Business is really different. Just like she said when Fairmount Towers was closed and students moved to The Flats and WSU leasing The Flats so the developer doesn’t lose as much money when everything was agreed to before KBOR policy was followed. How long can they keep saying this is OK? Every other school in the KBOR system seems to be fine with the Uninnovative policies and meeting them. Somehow. Someway. All the others just stumble along.

    The majority of the students in the 59th Senate understood that committing $15M in fees for a renovated and expanded Heskett Center would get the same thing that committing $251M in fees for a YMCA facility would get. New and enhanced space for Campus Recreation, Counseling, and Student Health. However, Bardo, Schlapp, and Tomblin took the “NO” out of “INNOVATION” and a revote got NO to YES.

    It is worth noting that never in the past was the vote on fees of an incoming SGA Senate at the end of the year done since they are not in office when the fee presentations and discussions take place. Not until this year. It would appear to be another innovative approach to getting the answer that the administration was only going to settle for and then telling KBOR that extensive student input was taken into account like is always listed in the fee justification document. It would be interesting to note if there is an asterisk in the last fee document stating the sitting SGA for the year voted no and then the newly elected SGA voted yes.

    No bond funding was needed to renovate and expand the Heskett Center with the $5M from the Board of Trustees and the $10M generated in just two years with the new fee based on what was listed by the Sunflower previously. After two years, the fee could have been eliminated instead of going on for more decades and subsidizing the operation of the local YMCA system. Does anyone think the Wichita YMCA operating cost of the WSU YMCA will be $5M per year? Or is costing them $5M per year for the next two years with no WSU YMCA built?

    The reason a bond was avoided was because fees for a bond for this construction would have required a referendum vote of the student body which probably would have been voted down.

    I don’t think anyone needs to worry about the YMCA turning their back on this pile of cash. Why would they? It seems the YMCA would incur no real cost in their operation across the city having some WSU students work out in an existing facility and they will be given $5M per year from WSU student fees for many years.


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