RecPlex coming soon to UWO

Grayson Lindau, News Writer

The projected end date for UW Oshkosh’s RecPlex facility is set to be completed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1 p.m. on May 11. A few landscaping adjustments and other minor refinements will be completed later this spring.

While some are excited about the new facility and are welcoming its arrival, others are concerned about the practicality and necessity of the project. Many students have expressed conflicting opinions about the new $6.4 million sports facility.

UWO sophomore Allison Whitaker shared a few challenging questions concerning the RecPlex that are in need of some clarification.

“Since we already have the [Student Recreation and Wellness Center], a state-of-the-art recreation and wellness center, why do we need a brand new sports facility?” Whitaker said.

When asked this question, Tony Dirth, associate director of student recreation, said the facility will provide more space that is needed for recreational activities that are needed on the University’s campus.

“While we do have an awesome facility in the SRWC, the things that RecPlex can offer are completely different,” Dirth said. “RecPlex will address the huge shortage of green space on and around campus, fields with no lights or amenities. It will provide field space for drop-in recreational activities, intramural sports, sport clubs, and athletic practices that include sports like ultimate Frisbee, soccer, football, flag football, softball, lacrosse and rugby.”

“It will allow these sports to be played on turf fields with state-of-the-art lighting, and even a dome in the winter months, giving students the opportunity to play field sports year-round and all day long.” Dirth said.

Due to the increasing interest in extracurricular sports among students, coupled with a lack of space to fulfill the demand, UWO officials as well as students felt it necessary to introduce the RecPlex and to diversify students’ options regarding recreational pursuits.

UWO junior Dennis Schomber said paying for a new sports facility could be an issue with the current budget situation at the University.

“We are constantly hearing from our professors about how academic department budgets are being cut and classes are having to be dropped as a result,” Schomber said. “So why is so much of the school’s money being put towards a new sports facility instead of academics?”

Dirth said this project will not put UWO into a deeper financial deficit.

“No [General Purpose Revenue] funds are being used for this project, which is what funds the academic department budgets,” Dirth said. ”This project was able to be funded with money left over from the construction of the SRWC and only a $5 per semester segregated fee increase per semester that students voted for in 2011.”

Dirth added that the progress is moving along well in building the RecPlex.

“The turf is already going in today and looking good so far!” Dirth said.