New rec center coming to University of Missouri – St. Louis

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NORTH ST.  LOUIS COUNTY (KTVI) - Construction continued Tuesday on a student recreation facility at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. Kim Hudson visited her alma mater to find out how much the new center would cost and why students agreed to pay the multi-million dollar bill.

"Bigger exercise facility, more courts to play on, basketball, tennis,” Barry Hykes sat outside the Millennium Student Center and watched the steel skeleton of the new building take shape.

The UMSL student works out to unwind from schoolwork and his on-campus job. But, he will not see the grand opening scheduled for Fall Semester 2015. The senior was already getting ready to graduate with degrees in mathematics and biology.

"Because of everything that the university has done for me as a student, in the future I want to give back to it anyway. So, it's nice to see the progress that is being made on campus."

Here is the cost breakdown for the new facility:

Price: $36-million

Student fee increase: $19.25 per credit hour up to 12 credit hours.

The school put the issue to a vote of the students in 2012.

For: 1,013

Against: 530

Hykes was one of those who voted for the increase.

“We've had different student groups and different student government associations look at it,” said UMSL Chancellor Tom George. “And, it finally all clicked about two to three years ago."

Hykes said he and his classmates felt the Mark Twain Athletic Building often got too crowded for anyone who was not a university athlete.

"The building was really overused and over-prescribed,” Student Affairs Vice Provost Curt Coonrod agreed. “There were times that the students couldn't use certain elements just because of sporting events and other activities that were going on."

But Hykes said without the basketball gym and weight room, he would have never come this close to graduation.

“I would work out to take a break. That has really helped me keep my sanity in college."

That is why he agreed to help pay for a larger facility he will probably never use.

Students can check their progress on their investment. They can find stills as well as live web cams of the construction site at

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