New gym ignores UVM campus culture

There is no doubt that a top-notch facility would attract the type of talent that would uphold the Universitys standard of excellence while catering to the success of current students. And yet, fiscal responsibility and campus culture should have requiredUVMadministrators to focus their attentions on updates that fall in areas other than athletics.

Rumored plans to renovate campus athletic center were touched upon in aWCAXinterview with President Tom Sullivan on Sept. 30.

It will be a very effective multipurpose building where there will be athletics and social and cultural events and academic programs in the building, but, quite frankly, as [much] as we need that, that is going to take a substantial private donor to help us, Sullivan said. Our best estimate at this time is that that facility will be about $65 million.

The building mentioned would be an arena added or adjacent to the preexisting gymnasium, built in 1961. The new complex seems like a distant reality in the scheme of campus renovations, but its possibilities hold a valuable resource for those interested in athletics.

But, herein lies the problem with entertaining the prospects of new athletic facilities. Students atUVMare apathetic about sports. Its true that we have a few competitive Division I teams, but theres no support.

At most colleges, drunken parades and revelries of pride typically support athletics. This last homecoming weekend would have been a pivotal opportunity to display such enthusiasm, but, alas, this passion for athletics proved barren.UVMstudents do not embrace sports culture.

Therefore, lets focus our efforts and funds in areas that matter. I think Sullivan may agree on some level, as illustrated in his interview withWCAX.

I think we need to focus … and our priorities should be in restoring some of the lovely old buildings that we have where there have been repairs not made because of the so-called deferred maintenance problem. He said, I want to focus our attention on that issue, and specifically, we have engineering labs, we have science labs and we have medical school labs that really need to be competitive and first-rate.

Sullivan is right when he notes that while athletic facility renovations are an important improvement, in the University, other places of outdated infrastructure and technology those things which the student population embodies and value are more urgently in need of attention.

Despite overcrowding in the fitness center and an outdated gym, such extravagant means of remedy should not be entertained. Our focus should be in the talents inherent to the University, rather than to expand and diversify the community beyond feasible reaches. Campus culture does not reflect the need for a new gymnasium and therefore it should not be our main priority.