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UREC Board extends free parking indefinitely

Next year, the Bookie will help absorb the costs of the Student Recreation Center

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UREC Board extends free parking indefinitely

Students test out the free parking in the SRC lot.

Students test out the free parking in the SRC lot.

EZEKIEL NELSON | Daily Evergreen File

Students test out the free parking in the SRC lot.

EZEKIEL NELSON | Daily Evergreen File

EZEKIEL NELSON | Daily Evergreen File

Students test out the free parking in the SRC lot.

BREANNE SEARING, Evergreen reporter

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The University Recreation Board unanimously voted to keep the 90 minutes of free parking in the Student Recreation Center lot Wednesday.

Jeff Elbracht, facility director and member of the UREC Board, said the free parking trial was intended to last only a month, but will be extended to the fall semester after discussions with ASWSU and the Bookie about future revenue sources.

ASWSU President Jordan Frost said the Bookie has been in contact with members of student government and expressed an interest in paying for the loss of the annual revenue from current parking meters.

“The Bookie gives a dividend to the student government every year, which is approximately $65,000,” Frost said, “and they want a longstanding project to commit to and show how the Bookie is helping students.”

Roughly $35,000 of the dividend would go toward UREC so that it wouldn’t have to absorb the cost of the free parking lot and lose revenue, Frost said.
The Student Recreation Center collected comment cards from individuals around campus Feb. 1 until March 19 to give feedback about the free parking trial.

Elbracht said 90 percent of people who participated in the comment cards liked the free one-month trial, 7 percent disliked the trial and 3 percent had no opinion.

Elbracht said the free trial had no impact on the overall usage of the recreational facility, even though 5 percent of people who gave feedback said that they increased their usage.

He said 14 percent of students said that the free trial eliminated a barrier or excuse to be healthy.

Adam Comeau, student member of the UREC Board, said the free trial had a positive impact in motivating students to spend more time at the gym and encouraged them to visit more frequently.

Despite this, usage of the recreation center from Feb. 1 to March 10 was 2 percent lower than projected by members of the UREC Board.

The Board is planning on keeping the 90 minute time limit for free parking, and the additional charge if the time limit is exceeded to prevent students from using the parking lot for classes rather than time at the center.

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UREC Board extends free parking indefinitely