Wellness Center overshadows the need for better student dorms

[media-credit name=”Jessylyn Los Banos ” align=”alignnone” width=”560″]housing_dorm[/media-credit]

Walking past the shiny new facade of the new wellness center that is under construction, I can’t help comparing it to the lackluster appearance of my apartment building in University Park North, clad with dangling wires and broken windows.

When I first moved into UPN as a junior and pulled up next to my building, I thought, “Could this really be the right address?” My mom observed the litter that was sprinkled on the grass. Shrugging, she merely said, “Well maybe you’ll get used to it.”

Now that it has been a year, I have gotten used to the cracked sidewalks, defunct window screens and the occasional sighting of a mouse. However, these conditions are something that I should not have to live with in the first place.

The Mashouf Wellness Center is currently under construction and is slated to open in late 2017, according to the center’s page on SF State’s Capital Planning, Design & Construction website. The top of the line wellness center will come complete with a multi-level gym, an elevated jogging track, lap pool, natatorium, climbing wall and water and energy conservation system.  

However, we already have a perfectly adequate gym, with a recreational pool, weight room, exercise physiology lab and several other amenities. Rather than focusing on building new health and gym facilities, the school should instead invest their time and money in something  students actually need: new dorms.

Some of the dorms here on campus, like UPN, are in poor condition and are in dire need of repairs and renovations. For instance, many of the buildings have a less than appealing exterior with peeling paint and broken windows. Having shattered or boarded up windows is a problem in of itself, since it can present safety concerns of burglary and theft.

According to the University police crime log, in the past two weeks alone, there have been four cases of theft and burglary and one case of trespassing. Many of these took place in the vicinity of the campus dorms — including Font and Lake Merced Boulevard and Buckingham Way.

One of the more severe cases of burglary took place in a student apartment, where a group of roommates lost $1,350 in property, according to the crime log. The trespassing case occurred during the first week of school and also took place in UPN.

There are countless negative reviews of the UPN complex on Yelp. Some of the most recent reviews from 2016 mention the poor state of some of the complex’s facilities, like the laundry rooms and the windows, which fuels a notable bug problem. Cans of insect repellent sit in the lobby of buildings as a feeble attempt to combat the pests.

Even with all these issues surrounding housing at SF State, an Associated Students, Inc. student referendum found  many students actually wanted to put their tuition fees toward a new gym and wellness center, according to former ASI President Phoebe Dye. But as SF State’s population continues to grow, it would be more pertinent for students to make the case for new dorms and housing now more than ever.

3,500 first-year students came in at the start of the semester, and according to csumentor.edu, almost half of the freshmen population live on campus. After looking at these numbers, it seems like building more dorms should be a higher priority for the University. SF State should make an effort to plan for more dorms and to mitigate the problems at hand.

All the while, we are still having to live with mosquitos for roommates, burglar enticing windows, and a growing population of freshmen each year, lining up in the waitlist queue.