Staying active at Dalhousie is going to get more expensive.
Construction is starting on a fitness centre in front of the Dalplex, and Dalhousie’s website states that students will start paying a new fee for the centre as soon as the building is finished.
Susan Robertson of Financial Services says that the cost will be an additional $180 a year.
The new centre will include space for strength training, cardio and fitness studios, according to Dal’s website.
However, the fee hike is bad news for some students.
Kirstie Delage is in her fourth year at Dalhousie. She says that while she does support the athletics program, she’d prefer to opt out of the gym membership.
“I have a membership at Crossfit Kinetics,” says Delage. “Dalplex doesn’t accommodate students like me who do more than basic exercise. I do a lot of heavy lifting and I can’t do that here.”
Delage says classes are also often at awkward times.
“We want people to use the facility as much as possible. If there was a demand, we would want to meet it.”
Amanda Kirby-Sheppard is the Manager of Recreation Marketing at Dalplex. She says that schedules fluctuate every semester.
“Our group fitness classes are based on demand,” she said. “We want people to use the facility as much as possible. If there was a demand, we would want to meet it.”
Delage is not alone in wishing she could opt out. Natasha Petrenko has two gym memberships: the mandatory one at Dalplex and another at Fitness FX. She says the small, family atmosphere makes the extra cost worthwhile.
“I don’t remember the last time I set foot in the Dalplex other than to write an exam,” she said via Facebook.
Fees labelled “Athletics and Recreation” currently cost over $200 annually for King’s students.
Athletics expenses for Dalhousie students are built into the fees for student services, which amount to roughly $300 a year.
Alex Bryant, president of the King’s Student Union (KSU), says that any type of additional cost is not welcome.
“We are opposed to [the new fee], but now students are stuck with it,” says Bryant. “In general, our position is that students should not be paying tuition fees at all.”
Bryant hasn’t heard any feedback from students this year about opting out of athletics fees. He said if there were such a demand, the KSU would act on it.
“If the overwhelming opinion from the student body was that they want to be able to opt out of the Dalplex, well great, we’ll do that,” he says.
The additional fee is an especially sensitive issue for King’s students, who voted against it in a 2012 referendum. Despite that, the King’s Board of Governors voted in favour of accepting the increase.
No one was available for comment to indicate when the new building will open.