University of Memphis changes design plans for new recreation building due to funding

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The University of Memphis' president announced on Sunday the student fees they’ve accumulated aren’t enough to go forward with a new recreation building.

Instead of tearing the old building down and starting new, they’re going to improve the old building and stick with other plans they had in the works.

“I come here three days out the week for racquetball and before I usually came on weekends to get a few workouts in," said student Michael Gaines.

Gaines said he wasn’t happy to hear the university’s plan to demolish the old rec center and replace it with a new one is changing.

“It’s kind of like a spit to the face," he said.

Student fees have been going towards this new design and other projects for a few years, but the president said the $15 million raised isn’t enough to build the $60 million complex, especially since they still owe money on the current building until 2030.

Several students said they don’t care for a new one.

“Honestly, I don’t think they really need to," said student Martavius Crawford. "The one they got now is okay.”

But what a lot of them do want to see is more parking and a pedestrian bridge over the train tracks. The president said those plans are moving forward as quickly as possible.

“We need that bridge because, let’s keep it real, when that train is coming and you got a class and you trying to get over that train, you want to get to class on time," said student Sherry Brooks.

The university also said the added parking will come in handy ahead of the redesign and construction.

Students said they’re happy to see change, but want the faculty to keep their word with how they’re using their money.

“It sounds kind of contradictory but for me, it’s more like you made a promise to give us something and we didn’t get it," said Gaines.

The University of Memphis has had tuition increases the past two years.

The president will be speaking with the student body on Thursday to answer questions.

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