EDITORIAL: Athletes get the Chippewa Champions Alumni Center, what about the rest of us?


Chippewa Champion Center stands view

Construction and funding for the $32.5 million Chippewa Champion Alumni Center was approved by the Board of Trustees during its Sept. 27 fall meeting.

The Chippewa Champion Alumni Center will serve as a new and improved training center for about 500 student athletes and home to the Athletics Department. A new weight and training room, sports medicine complex, nutrition and a rehabilitation center will be completely dedicated to student athletes.

The building also will serve as a "welcome center" for recruiting new students and welcoming back Central Michigan University alumni. It will be the new home of Advancement and Alumni Relations. 

Roughly one-third of the building will house the Alumni Center and office spaces, while the rest of the building will be dedicated to the CMU student athletes. Funding will come from the university's construction dollars to get the project started, though it will ultimately be paid for through donations, dollars from Advancement and football game guarantees. 

Football fans will certainly be happy that part of the project also includes a $1.5 million scoreboard on the south side of the field. In the stadium there will be a new rooftop premium hospitality seating areas, boxes and seating. In fact, the football team likely benefits the most. The football team's current locker room, which was built decades ago, was designed for 70 players — there are 110 players on the fall 2018 roster. 

When it comes time to recruit new football players, or any new student athletes, this impressive center will serve as a great incentive to choose being a Chippewa Champion. 

CMU football coach John Bonamego said, "We demand a lot from our student-athletes on and off the field. We owe them state-of-the-art facilities that are on par with the tremendous facilities we have on campus, such as the Biosciences Building and the Engineering and Technology Building."

Sounds great, right? We can see the benefits of this project. Still, it's a little difficult to get excited about a new building that most of us will spend very little time in.

Academic buildings such as Anspach, Moore and Pearce halls are the places students spend time in. We'd like to point out that those were built more than 40 years ago, and could all use some attention.

There are discussions about renovating Pearce Hall, as evidenced in the university's 2017 Master Plan. What about the other buildings? The thousands of students who walk through those halls everyday also deserve the best.

We understand certain students, such as medical and graduate students, pay a lot more in tuition to go here. It, sort of, makes sense that their buildings might get priority when it comes to renovation. But when will the average undergraduate see more resources within their buildings and classrooms?

We hope the university will prioritize its next building and renovation projects based on academic benefits and how many students will be affected. 

There's no arguing that this $32.5 million project will do big things for athletics, advancement and recruitment. 

What about the rest of us?

Every CMU student should be directly benefitting more from the dollars being raised to fund these projects and from updates and improvements made by the university.