Editorial: Making room for athletic growth

Story by The Baker Orange Editorial Board

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The Baker community needs to grow. New recreational facilities and opportunities for students to hang out and thrive on campus could do the trick. Though our current campus space is limited, Baker wants to purchase land north of Gessner Hall. With this new land in play, Baker has an opportunity to expand what it has to offer for incoming students, particularly athletes.

As it stands now, many students find campus is lacking because recreational and athletic facilities are overcrowded. With student athletes currently competing for space in the weight rooms, and with classes taking place on and off in Collins Center, there is certainly a shortage of recreational space on campus. Though we currently have a weight room, it is smaller than facilities at most other universities and needs more treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes. We simply do not have the space to accommodate both student athletes and the rest of campus right now, let alone if the campus population grows as expected.

Baker takes pride in the ability of its athletes, with a large percentage of the student population involved in athletics of some sort, so when space gets in the way of athletic improvement, it’s a concern that needs attention. If we do follow the expected trend and introduce even more students to campus, including additional student-athletes, something must be done in order to provide a successful space for athletic training, and this new land has that potential.

While the lack of space for practice and preparation is more than alarming to athletic teams and their participants, the shortage affects all students on campus, including those simply seeking to stay fit and use the athletic facilities recreationally. We are supposed to be competing on the scoreboards, not on who gets to work out next, and new facilities would change the game completely.

The new athletic facilities would help recruiting. Since more than half of the Baker campus is involved in some sort of athletics, if we could improve our facilities here on campus, we would attract more students who might otherwise choose other schools for their fancy equipment and ample workout space.

According to Steve Friend, the director of the Baldwin City Recreation Commission, plans for a community recreation center came to a halt because the city, the public school district and our college had different needs and expectations. Even though the Baldwin City Council is still considering a possible community center near Baldwin High School, the idea of Baker students using a facility across town to solve a campus problem may not entice incoming or current students.

The solution is more workout space on campus, and there’s never been a better option. We suggest that administrators and students alike start a conversation about benefitting the entire Baker community by giving us a little room to grow.