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Missouri State University Revises Rec Center Project Because of Budget Woes

SPRINGFIELD, MO -- Rather than renovate the McDonald Arena at Missouri State University (MSU) to add a student recreation center, state budget woes prompted MSU officials recently to announce plans to build a new student recreation center.

The arena project hinged on the school being able to move its Departments of Health, Physical Education and Recreation out of the arena and into a new addition at its Hammons Student Center.

The Hammons Student Center expansion was halted after money for MSU capital projects was put on hold by the state of Missouri, which has had trouble funding the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority program, the Springfield News-Leader reported.

Since 2006, MSU students have paid higher fees to fund a $23 million rec center inside the arena. So far, the school has collected $2.3 million for the center.

"The students have been paying the fee for some time now," Ken McClure, vice president for administrative and information services at MSU, told the newspaper. "They have every right to expect the university to proceed in a timely manner."

McClure said that MSU officials hope to finish design of the new rec center this year and open it in 2011. The university expects to build the facility for less than $23 million.

Details, including the rec center site, have yet to be decided, but McClure said that the change is not expected to increase student fees.

"We've been pushing for this project for some time. It's an effort we should move on as quickly as we can," McClure told the newspaper. "Now we just change the focus."

Meanwhile, the Hammons Student Center and arena renovations are on hold until money from the state becomes available.

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