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Ohio State IM facilities became some of the Big Ten's best by listening to student feedback

November 10, 2015

The State News has heard what MSU students and some faculty have to say about the state of our Intramural Sports Facilities, and well... It's not good. So, we're packing up our reporter and sending him to all the Big Ten schools we can, with the hope of answering one lingering question: Are MSU's IM facilities really as bad as students say they are?

The next stop on the road trip of superior intramural facilities is Ohio State University.

Boasting some of the most advanced and comprehensive complexes in the country, Ohio State’s central complex, Recreational and Physical Activity Center, or RPAC, is the pinnacle of what student lobbying and administrative involvement can accomplish.

Way back before the turn of the century during the 90’s, Ohio State students and faculty also noticed their own facilities were outdated and crumbling.

Much like MSU, the largest university in the state found itself being outdone by its in-state counterparts.

University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University, Miami University (OH) and Ohio University each developed student wellness centers that surpassed that of the Buckeyes, Senior Associate Director of Facilities David DeAngelo said.

Led by significant student involvement and lobbying, a decision was made to construct an entirely new facility in the place of the old one during the late 90s.

Like at University of Michigan, designers, accompanied by students, toured facilities from all over the country in order to gain a perspective on what would be the most conducive to the students at Ohio State.

Furthermore, officials at Ohio State conferred with several health-oriented sources to assess how much space was needed for proper student health.

In regards to funding the project, a portion came from state grants and donors but the bulk came from the demographic that would be primarily using the facilities — the students.

An additional $123 in costs is added to each student’s tuition in order to pay back on, what is essentially, a mortgage for the facility, Recreational Sports Director Don Stenta said, a notion contested by some because of its contribution to already ludicrously high upper education costs.

The state of the art facilities are seen by some, namely politicians, to be “country club costs,” he said.

However, it is important that universities continue to provide these accessible and adequate wellness centers, Stenta said, because of its direct correlation to the academic performance of a student.

For example, the main RPAC facility comes equipped with a center specifically designed for student wellness.

The center seeks to educate students on STD’s as well as healthy living on campus, DeAngelo said.

Student needs are also represented by a plethora of functional and flexible recreational space for any coming and going fads in exercise.

For instance, these rooms might house various activities and student clubs, such as mixed martial arts as well as Crossfit.

It is important therefore, Stenta said, that “any initiative has to be led by the students.”

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Students must show leadership and a genuine desire in order to obtain these wellness centers for not only themselves, but the next generation of students as well, Senta said.

"The program that we offer for the recreational sports fee supports student wellness, development and learning," Stenta said.

These amenities include, but are not limited to, a recreational pool, hot tub, complete track level, multiple basketball courts for a variety activities, an entire section dedicated to cardio and a fully-functional maintenance room that can repair equipment at a moment’s notice.

“We don’t want to be in the business of having outdated equipment,” DeAngelo said, which is why the free weights, machines, and cardio equipment are updated regularly.

There are also multiple levels with more isolated areas that students can utilize if they don’t feel as confident with their bodies.

These complexes are vital, DeAngelo said, and profoundly contribute to the mental as well as physical well-being of the student body.


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