On April 14-15, students voted by a margin of 66% for and 34% against to pass a fee to construct a new Student Wellness Center that integrates all student health services in a single facility alongside recreational and fitness spaces. This page provides background information as well as sample images of Student Wellness Centers at other universities to provide an idea of what the Wellness Center could be like.
A brief history
In March 2019, a historic snow accumulation caused the roof collapse of the north and south gyms of the Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center and impacted the roof over the pool. Additionally, for at least the past six years, students have been supportive of a new student health center. In both 2014 and in 2016, the ASMSU Senate passed resolutions of support for a new facility, which is used by more than 80 percent of all students during their time at MSU.
Gathering student input about the future
Beginning in the fall of 2019, the University, in collaboration with consultants specializing in wellness facility planning and design, conducted outreach to students about their health, wellness and fitness goals as well as about what kind of facility features they would value to help achieve those goals. This was accomplished through:
- 12 Pop-Up Events
- 30 Presentations to Groups / Clubs / Organizations
- 42 Outreach Events
- 167 Collective Contact hours
- 1,746 Individual Contacts
- 5,375 Votes Cast (Dot Polling)
The most common topic across all conversations with students in terms of their wellness goals was the importance of mental health and wellbeing.
We also heard a significant number of comments like these about a Wellness Center:
- Be for everyone. Not everyone feels comfortable working out in the current center!
- Be an integral part of student life, everyday.
- Provide a sense of community and connection for all students.
- Be inclusive and sustainable.
- Be filled w/ open & visually transparent spaces. Show us what's inside.
- Include a lot of windows and natural light.
- Feel warm and comfortable. Make it inviting.
Improve! Don't duplicate!
We also heard from students that they don't want to simply duplicate the 1971-era gyms that were lost in March 2019. Students asked for modern, improved spaces and facilities with features to match current and projected student priorities.
The opportunity: An integrated Student Wellness Center
In taking student feedback and consulting with national experts, the University is proposing a Wellness Center that integrates student health and recreation into one facility, a Student Wellness Center. The Wellness Center would provide numerous improvements to recreation and fitness but would also integrate a new home for student health services. Student health is currently based out of the Swingle Health Center, a structure built in 1957, when MSU's enrollment was 3,568, students and last renovated in the 1970s, when enrollment was around 10,000 students. Fall 2019 enrollment was 16,766 students. In both 2014 and in 2016, the ASMSU Senate passed resolutions of support for a new facility, which is used by more than 80 percent of all students during their time at MSU.
Advantages of a Student Wellness Center
The proposed facility would conveniently co-locate all student health, counseling, and wellness services in a one-stop facility that would also include recreational and fitness activities. Students will have accessible and inclusive wellness resources that contribute to their overall health and well-being. Each student has their own path to health and well-being, and this facility will empower students to attend to the different dimensions of their holistic health in a convenient, modern, and inclusive space. The space will also support enhancing community and connection among students which is a key component of wellness. Other universities where this integrated model has been adopted report more and better student access to the whole range of health and wellbeing resources and, in doing so, improved student success.
Fitness and recreation improvements of a Student Wellness Center
We have heard from our students that they want expanded climbing facilities, a multi-purpose activity court (MAC), innovative functional training options, traditional wood courts, an outdoor recreation service desk and a contemporary aquatics space. We also heard from our students that this facility needs to have an HVAC system that will ensure year-round air quality and appropriate room temperatures.
Student Funded Facilities and Services
The Montana Legislature does not provide funding for the construction of student recreation and/or health centers. The Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center and its facilities have always been funded by student fees.
How will a Student Wellness Center become a reality?
To make this project happen in the most affordable manner, a mixture of funding sources was identified, including insurance funds addressing the March 2019 facility losses, existing student fee revenues which are eligible for this project, and an increase of an existing student fee by $58 per semester. The ASMSU Senate approved putting the $58 fee request before the student body for a vote April 14-15, which passed decisively with above average voter turnout. After the April vote, the fee will go to the Montana Board of Regents for ultimate approval at its May 2020 meeting.