If UP hopes to compete with other small, private Catholic institutions, it must live up to the standards that similar colleges have set - for academics, fitness and otherwise.
So now that the University plans to unveil the newly renovated Clark Memorial Library this August, raising the school's academic quality and reputation, it is time for the RISE campaign to focus its efforts on the next step toward an exceptional university - a new recreational center.
And that is exactly what UP plans to do, according to President Beauchamp's State of the University Address held at the MAC club Tuesday, when he announced that from now on, the RISE campaign will focus fundraising on a new recreational center.
It's about time.
Beauchamp said in his address that UP seeks to educate not just the mind and spirit, but the body as well.
Howard Hall fails miserably in this.
It was built in 1927 when the University's enrollment was under 100 students.
Now, 86 years later, with UP's total enrollment at almost 4,000, Howard Hall hasn't changed at all.
It fails to meet building codes and houses outdated equipment.
The fitness classes held inside are often overcrowded, forcing instructors to turn students away.
According to Beauchamp, around 600 students use the facility daily - a much higher number than the building was designed for.
The new recreational center, which will be built on the field where Public Safety currently resides, would accommodate our current student body and would cater to the fitness needs Howard Hall's deficiencies have made glaringly clear.
It would offer a clean, modern facility for students to work out, attend fitness classes and be involved in Outdoor Pursuits.
Potential plans for the new center include a climbing wall, bike shop, day lockers, indoor track, yoga studio and gym.
It is unfortunate that making the recreational center a priority has forced UP to abandon plans for a new baseball stadium.
However, a new recreational center will benefit far more students than a new baseball stadium and is a much more pressing need due to the state of Howard Hall.
In his address, Fr. Beauchamp said the University wants a recreational center it can be proud of.
We agree, and we are glad they are finally making it a priority.
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