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A committee of students and offices across campus will work to design a referendum question to be put on the spring 2020 ballot on whether to expand the Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center.

University of Kansas students will vote in the spring on whether they want the Ambler Student Recreation Center to expand to include more amenities, student senators said during a meeting Wednesday evening.

Student Senate received formal approval to move forward with potentially another phase of rec expansion. 

Senate Chief of Staff Zach Thomason announced in his officer report Wednesday night that Vice Provost for Student Affairs Tammara Durham approved his formal proposal, which was drafted in September. A committee of students and offices across campus will work to design a referendum question to be put on the spring 2020 ballot.

“We’ll be working over the next five months to ensure that a referendum question is comprehensive and also lays out the lowest potential costs students will have to pay into,” Thomason said in his officer report. 

Student Body President Tiara Floyd and Student Body Vice President Seth Wingerter ran in spring 2019 to give students a choice to expand the rec.

The rec was first proposed as a three-phase project during the 1998-99 academic year. Then, a referendum was passed to begin construction on the rec. Originally, the third phase, which senators are proposing now, was set to be completed in 15 years, Thomason said.

Twenty years after the referendum passed, Senate is dividing the initial third phase into two different parts. The first will be the construction of a turf field in the rec. The second will be the addition of a pool.

Students will get the opportunity to vote on whether or not they want their student fee dollars to support constructing a turf field. 

The tentative expansion of a pool would come in later years, should the initial referendum to create the turf field pass. 

“It’s very clear that, with our rec, we are not up to standards on a modern level, so we really want to give students the opportunity to say if [an expansion] is what they want or not,” Thomason said.

Senate will also begin conversations on expanding the mental health services at the rec. Thomason said one of the examples would be offering therapy yoga classes. Senators are basing renovation plans off of a greater master plan for the rec, which includes a yoga terrace and the indoor turf field.

All students have a chance to vote on the referendum, but only students who will be on campus when the construction is finished will pay for the rec in their student fees. 

“While it’s a huge decision, we feel it's best we left it on the ballot and in the hands of students,” Wingerter said. “The fees will be delayed two to four years down the road, so if you aren’t here for [the rec expansion], you aren’t paying for it.”