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26 April 2015

Dr. Alan Sickbert

Dean of Students
Hamline University
1536 Hewitt Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55104
Dear Dr. Sickbert:
We are pleased to inform you that we have completed our study on the feasibility of adding an
additional fitness facility on the Hamline University Campus. We would like to thank you for
granting us permission to conduct research on a subject that we feel is relevant to the majority of
Hamlines student body.
We began the project by conducting research on Google Scholar and on the Bush Library online
reference database system. We also conducted primary research by distributing a survey to
members of our class on their thoughts about the current exercise facilities available to them and
any improvements that they would like to see within the facilities. Overwhelmingly, the
respondents called attention to the lack of space in the current Walker facility due to limited
equipment selection and overcrowding both from general use and sports teams.
We then conducted research online to see what other universities have done to resolve similar
issues relating to on campus fitness facilities. We found substantial evidence backing the idea
that this space is almost as important as space for academics on college campuses and thus
should be given a high amount of priority. We have formulated our conclusion and
recommendations for you and the Hamline Community to consider.
We feel that we collected enough information to support the conclusion that we are offering, and
hope that you find this useful in your duties as the Dean of Students. We do feel that it would be
feasible to construct a new fitness facility at Hamline University. We appreciate the opportunity
to conduct research for this report, and we hope you will gain as much value from reading it as
we did from writing it.
Jacob Skarhus & Benjamin Williams


Constructing a New On Campus Fitness Facility:

A Feasibility Study
English 1800: Intro to Professional Writing and Rhetoric
Instructor: Krista Soria
26 April 2015



Physical activity is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, particularly for students
on college campuses. The current facility on Hamline Universitys campus has been receiving
criticism as of late about its shortcomings when compared to the fitness facilities on other
college campuses. This report uses data collected from secondary internet database collections
and from a survey given to 40 members of Krista Sorias English 1800 class to examine whether
or not it is feasible for Hamline University to create an additional space on campus dedicated to
physical activity to relieve some of the pressures placed upon the current Walker Fieldhouse
facility. The participants in the survey were asked about their exercise habits, thoughts on Walker
Fieldhouse, and thoughts on what should be included in a new facility if one were to be built.
The study finds that a majority of the survey group is in favor of creating a new facility and
would be willing to pay a fee attached to tuition to help fund its construction. The conclusion is
that it is, indeed, feasible to create a new facility on campus dedicated to physical fitness;
however, additional research would need to be conducted to determine the specifics of the best
possible facility given Hamlines constrained resources.

Table of Contents



Research Methods


Walker Fieldhouse

Current Conditions at Walker..9

A New Facility....................................................................................................................11
Benefits of a New Facility..................................................................................................12
Appendix A: Questionnaire...17



The issue that we will be researching for the purposes of this feasibility study is the lack
of indoor exercise space and equipment that Hamline University has currently. The main issue
also has several related issues and factors which we will investigate and report our findings.
A lack of exercise space available to students presents several limiting factors to physical
health. First and foremost, it creates a culture where physical health is not given a priority among
many students. Second, a lack of facilities creates conflict between athletic teams and the general
student body over who gets time to use the facilities. Lastly, while there are many options for
physical activity outdoors that do not require expensive buildings or equipment, Hamline
University is located in Minnesota where the average temperatures are below freezing for up to
six out of ten months in a school year.
Barney (2014) states that college in America is a very hectic experience. Balancing
classes, work, homework, and sleep can cause a lot of stress and detrimental health effects.
Barney conducted a study of 356 college students at a small university in the western US to find
the effects of participating in group physical activity classes on the perception of stress. Barney
found that an overwhelming majority (85-86%) of students reported that participating in group
activities such as volleyball, basketball, or other intramural sports dramatically lowered their
stress levels and benefited their mental well-being.
The current Walker Fieldhouse work out facility has capacity for around 55 to 60 patrons
at any given time. The CDC (2014) recommends that adults ages 18-64 get at a bare minimum
two and a half hours of physical activity per week. Their recommendation is that adults should
strive for around 5 hours per week to maintain their health. It is open for seventeen hours a day
on Monday through Thursday and has more limited hours on the weekend.
Hamline University has around 2,100 enrolled under graduates and 2,800 graduate and
law students according to the National Center for Education Statistics (U.S Dept of Education,
2014). Hamline also has several hundred faculty members and other staff that are allowed to use
its facilities. Mathematically, the capacity per day of the current workout facility is around 1,000
patrons per day assuming that the space is at capacity all 17 hours and the average time spent in
the facility is around one hour. Based on this calculation, Hamline only has the capacity for 1/5th
of the potential patrons it could serve. This will cause many to not utilize the space, and
according Reed (2005) there is a direct connection with the availability of close by fitness
equipment to the physical activity level of students.


In order to provide the students and staff of Hamline University a better option for
physical activity, we see an opportunity for Hamline to construct a new fitness facility on
campus. The new facility would be able to add much needed exercise equipment. It could also
potentially alleviate the issue of sports teams not having a dedicated facility to practice in when
outdoor practice is not possible. The addition of a new workout facility opens the door for having
a dedicated indoor space solely for athletic teams to use.
We found three examples of other colleges that have faced similar issues and decided to
construct a new fitness facility. The prices for these three projects ranged from $500,000 on up to
$14.4 million depending on the type of facility constructed. We feel that these examples will be
useful in planning the finances if such a project were to be undertaken.
The purpose of this report is to present research more in depth on what we have described
above. In the following sections we will outline our research, results, conclusions, and
recommendations on this topic. We have also included a list of our sources and a copy of the
survey questions that we used in Appendix A.

Research Methods


We conducted the following research to better understand the importance of having space
on college campuses dedicated to fitness. We collected our findings from several sources

We researched the Center for Disease Controls recommendations on physical activity in

the age range for traditional college students

We researched the National Center for Education Statistics to find demographic data on

Hamlines student body and the portion of it participating in athletics

We visited the Walker Fieldhouse facility to determine the current operating capacity and

We conducted a survey asking classmates about their physical fitness habits, their
opinions on the current fitness facility, and their thoughts on constructing a new space for

fitness on campus
We distributed this survey to our classmates and received 40 responses
We analyzed our findings and created graphical interpretations of the data we felt were

most important to this study

We conducted online research on Google Scholar and did not find anything useful from

this source
We used Bush Library online database resources to locate articles that studied the benefit

of having an on campus fitness facility

We researched other academic institutions that have constructed fitness facilities on their

campus to see if we could find any sort of cost range

We received a related article from Professor Soria on the relationship between student
success and on campus fitness facilities

After careful consideration and examination of the data we found, we made our conclusions
and recommendations based on the following criteria:

Would this facility increase the physical activity focus on this campus?

What benefits could Hamline realize from creating a new fitness space?

Could a different facility alleviate the conflicts with sports teams not having practice

Is there a space to build this facility or could an existing space be renovated?

Would the Hamline community financially support building this facility?

Is there funding available to complete this facility in a quality manner?


Is it possible to complete the facility in a timely manner?

Could the new facility be environmentally friendly?

Could the project create more student jobs when the facility is completed?


Our research for this study focused on the current issues with available fitness facilities
and what can be done to improve the situation. For the purposes of clarity and organization, we
will first discuss issues regarding the current facility and surrounding factors, and then methods
that Hamline could use to improve the current situation.
Walker Fieldhouse
Upon a visit to Walker Fieldhouse, we examined the fitness facility that Hamline has
available for all staff, students, and alumni to use for free. We counted the number of machines
and free-weight stations that the facility has and the number of people these can accommodate at
one time to come up with the capacity we will assume for this report. Given our estimates, we
assumed that Walker can hold between 55 and 60 people comfortably at any given time.
According to the NCES database, Hamline has around 2,100 enrolled undergraduate
students and 2,800 grad and law students (U.S. Dept of Education, 2014). With a 60 person
capacity and a 17 hour operating schedule during the week, the facility can only handle around
1,000 users per day if the average user is in the facility for one hour. This capacity is slightly
over 20% of the student body, and if staff and alumni are included that figure drops dramatically.
Assuming that our survey represented a somewhat accurate portion of the undergraduate
student population, Walker does not have the capacity to serve the number of students that wish
to use it on a daily basis. Seventy percent of our survey respondents indicated that they are
physically active as indicated by Figure 1, and 60% reported that Walker is the primary facility
that they use for exercise during the school year. Mathematically speaking, 60% of the
undergraduate student body is 1,260 people. This amount alone is over Walkers daily operating
capacity without any consideration given to staff, alumni or grad/law students who want to use
the facility.
In our initial research we found on the Center for Disease Controls website that around 3
out of 10 college students were overweight and not getting enough daily exercise to maintain a
healthy lifestyle (How much physical activity do adults need, 2014). In our survey, we wanted to
see if that trend was similar in a typical group of Hamline students. Students were asked whether
they consider themselves physically active or not and were required to pick one of those two
options. While this does not perfectly mirror the question we had from our initial research, it



served to give us an understanding of potentially how much of Hamlines undergraduate student

body had the desire for a space to exercise on campus.




Figure 1. Students were asked whether they are personally physically active outside of any
required activity for a sports team.
Current Conditions at Walker
To get a better understanding of the issues that students feel are the most prevalent with
Walker, we asked multiple questions on the survey we conducted to seek these answers. A list of
common complaints about the facility was presented on our survey and students were allowed to
select as many options as the wished. Figure 2 shows that the overwhelming majority of
respondents felt that space was the biggest issue; both in a lack of available equipment and the
tendency for athletic teams to occupy the available space so that other students cannot use it.
Thirty one out of 40 students think that athletic team overcrowding is an issue with the current
facility, and 27 students think that the quantity of equipment available is too little. Knowing what
the current barriers are to student exercise will be useful in creating a new facility that does not
cause the same ones. With the exception of one student, every respondent to the survey selected
at least one thing that they felt was an issue with Walker. Most students selected somewhere
between 3 and 5 options that they felt were current issues.










Number of Respondents Who Selected This Option


Figure 2. Number of students who cited common reasons why they are not satisfied with or why
they do not use current Walker Fieldhouse fitness facility.
One particular statistic we found from this question that was interesting was that over
75% of students reported that the presence of athletic teams was an issue. Currently, athletic
teams use Walker for weight training because no other facility exists. This displaces students that
would otherwise use the facility because it is overcrowded and equipment is not available. Of the
respondents we had that indicated they do not use walker as their primary exercise facility, over
half that stated they were physically active cited overcrowding and lack of equipment as an issue.
If a new facility were to exist, it is possible that athletic teams could have some dedicated space
of their own for weight training. This would be useful considering that over 500 Hamline
undergrads participate in an NCAA DIII sport sponsored by the school (U.S. Dept. of Education,



A new facility
With the current exercise facility in Walker Fieldhouse unable to serve students and
athletic teams desires, we decided to explore the feasibility of creating a new facility on the
Hamline University campus dedicated to physical fitness. Another area that our survey explored
was what students would like to see if a new facility were to be constructed. 40 students were
asked what they would like to see if a new fitness facility were to be constructed on campus.
Students were allowed to select as many of the options we suggested as they wished as well as
suggest any others we did not.



18 18

Number of Respondents Who Selected This Option


New replacements for current equipment

Figure 3. Various options for improvements to the on campus fitness facility and the number of students
out of 40 who would like to see each of them.

Figure 3 shows that the most common answers were replacing the current equipment in
the gym, and creating more space for additional equipment. The preference of students appears
to be for additional traditional gym equipment and space rather than equipment for alternative
styles of exercising. Twenty six out of 40 respondents indicated that they would like to see the



current equipment replaced with more modern versions. Twenty five students indicated that they
would like to see more space with fitness equipment available. Knowing what students want in a
new facility will be helpful in constructing a useful new facility if that option is ever pursued.
Benefits of a new facility
The major portion of our secondary research was focused on what benefits could be
derived from a new on campus fitness facility if one were to be constructed. We examined
studies done at other colleges on several aspects of this issue to gain some further support for the
construction of a new facility.
Reed (2005) investigated whether there was a correlation between the proximity of
fitness facilities to the regular places a college student goes on a daily basis. The study found that
when examined by grade level in school, freshmen tended to be the most physically active with
12 bouts of exercise per week, and that number decreased as they got older to 9 per week as a
senior. The study ultimately concluded that there is a direct correlation between these two items,
and that a major reason why freshman were more active was because they lived on campus
where a fitness facility was available and seniors tended to live off campus and farther away
(Reed, 2005).
Lovell (2010) investigated why female students in particular would or would not
participate in an exercise program. While this study only studied females, it found that on
average for every perceived barrier to exercise that a person had, they had 1.33 perceived
benefits to exercising. The significance of this is that students see the benefits of regular exercise,
but a barrier such as the lack of a facility where space is available can prevent students from
regularly exercising. The study also investigated role that social pressures and perceived body
judgment can play in this decision too (Lovell, 2010).
Lastly, Huesman (2009) investigated the relation of student exercise habits to first-year
student retention and 5 year graduation rates. The study ultimately found that as students
exercised one standard deviation (which equated to 25 times per semester) more, their retention
chances went up by 1% and their 5 year graduation rate chances went up by 2%. The
significance that this article found for that statistic is that students who feel more involved on
campus socially will ultimately end up more likely to continue at the school and graduate from it
(Huesman, 2009).



The last important factor that we investigated was the cost of building a new facility.
Since this is the most likely barrier to construction, we felt that it was an important issue to
investigate. Our survey investigated whether students would be willing to help fund a new
facility through a tuition-based fee. The question we asked was: Would you support the
construction of a new exercise facility if it meant a fee were added to your tuition bill? Sixty
percent of respondents said yes. Additionally, we asked how much of a fee they would be willing
to pay per semester. We found that 67% would pay up to $50, and 35% out of that 67% (so just
over half) would support a fee higher than $50.
We searched for information from secondary resources on how much it would cost to
construct a new fitness facility. The first number we were able to come up with was from
Waimea College who had recently built a facility for $500,000 (Fairfax New Zealand Limited,
2003). However, this statistic is 12 years old now and the effects of inflation probably dont give
this estimate much credibility in todays market.
OJC (2011) stated that a college in Colorado had been having similar problems with
overcrowding and set about constructing a new 9,000 square foot facility in 2011. The price tag
on the building contract was $1.25 million and the school paid for this without any public funds.
In addition, the student body voted to pay the ongoing maintenance costs of the new facility by
adding a $2 per credit hour fee to tuition. The article stated that administration was surprised at
the overwhelming support by student vote for this maintenance fee.
Lastly, YHC (2011) discussed a recent recreational facility that had been built in 2011 at
Young Harris College in Georgia. This facility consisted of 57,000 square feet and included
many state of the art fitness equipment features. Most notably, it contained a 37 foot rock wall, a
caf, classrooms for yoga and other group exercise classes, and an elevated walking track above
an NCAA official basketball and volleyball sized arena. This building was also LEED certified
for being built to meet the highest environmental standards in the construction industry. The
price tag for this building was $14.4 million and was funded from various sources including the
schools reserves and many private donors.





After conducting research through pertinent articles, a student survey, and observation of
Walker Fieldhouse, the following conclusions have been drawn:

Walker Fieldhouse does not have the capacity that Hamline students are demanding
Walker Fieldhouse cannot support both student and athletic team workouts

A new facility could create more space for students and dedicated space for athletic

A new facility would help to reduce the barriers that are preventing students from getting

the recommended amount of exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle

A new facility could potentially help with first-year retention and social inclusion of

Existing space could possibly be used for construction, eliminating the need for

construction of a new building

More space for indoor exercise would beneficial to the physical and mental health of the

Hamline community
A comparable facility to what other similar schools have would make Hamline a more

attractive school for incoming students and athletic recruits

A new facility can be built for a reasonable cost and be partially funded by student
contributions through tuition fees



Although there is data that suggests that Hamline students would support the construction
of a new fitness facility on campus, it is recommended that:

Research be done on where to construct this facility on campus, and whether it should be in a

brand new building or could be created in an existing space

Research be done on how to best use resources to create the most useful facility possible
More students be interviewed with a more in-depth survey to specifically predict student

usage and what students want in the facility

More investigation into the costs of a new facility be done



Barney, D., Benham, L., & Haslem, L. (2014). Effects of College Students Participation in
Pyhsical Activity Classes on Stress. American Journal Of Health Studies, 29(1), 1-6.
Fairfax New Zealand Limited. (2003). Waimea College Opens New Gym. The Nelson
Mail Retrieved from
How much physical activity do adults need? (2014, March 3). Retrieved March 11, 2015, from
Huesman, Jr., R., Brown, A., Lee, G., Kellogg, J., & Radcliffe, P. (2009). Gym Bags and
Mortarboards: Is Use of Campus Recreation Facilities Related to Student
Success? Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 46(1), 50-63.
Lovell, G. P., Ansari, W. E., & Parker, J. K. (2010). Perceived Exercise Benefits and Barriers of
Non-Exercising Female University Students in the United Kingdom. International
Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 7(3), 784798.
New fitness center construction begins at OJC. (2011, Apr 11). Targeted News Service Retrieved
Reed, J. A., & Phillips, D. A. (2005). Relationships Between Physical Activity and the Proximity
of Exercise Facilities and Home Exercise Equipment Used by Undergraduate University
Students. Journal Of American College Health, 53(6), 285-290.
U.S. Department of Education. (2014). College Navigator: Hamline University. Retrieved from
YHC opens second LEED-certified campus facility. (2011, Feb 04). Targeted News
Service Retrieved from



Appendix A: Questionnaire
Feasibility Study of a New On-Campus Fitness Facility
The purpose of this survey is to collect opinions from Hamline students enrolled in English 1800
on the construction of a new on campus fitness facility. You have been selected to take this
survey because you are enrolled in Krista Soria's Intro to Professional Writing and Rhetoric
course. We are both also members of this class. We guarantee confidentiality in how we will
handle the data collected in this survey. Thank you for your time and we appreciate your
* Required
Where do you primarily reside during the school year?
o On campus housing
o Off campus, but within walking distance (~1 mile or less)
o Off campus, not within walking distance (~1 mile or more)
Please select your gender *
o Female
o Male
o Other
Do you participate in a varsity sport at Hamline? *
o Yes
o No, Never have
o No, But used to
Outside of required activity for any athletic team, do you consider yourself physically active? *
o Yes
o No


How many times per week do you use the Walker Fieldhouse workout facility? *
o 0
o 1
o 2-4
o 5-7
o More than 7
Is Walker the primary facility that you use to exercise? *
o Yes
o No
If no, Where do you primarily exercise? (If you do not regularly exercise please put N/A here)
Select all that you feel are issues with the current Walker Fieldhouse workout facility: *
o Limited equipment variety
o Limited equipment quantity
o Limited hours
o Limited staff on hand
o Security
o Not enough TV's
o Lack of locker/shower facilities
o Limited space for non-equipment based activity
o Over-crowding due to sports team use
o Over-crowding due to general use
o Other:




Would you support building a new workout facility if it meant a fee was added to tuition? *
o Yes
o No
How much of a tuition increase per semester would you support? *
o $0
o $1-$50
o $51-$200
o $201-$500
o > $500
Please elaborate on any amenities not listed above that you would like to see:

What would you like to see if a new workout facility were to be built on campus? *

New replacements for current equipment (eg. new elliptical machines with
personal TV screens)

New equipment that currently is not there (eg. pilates reformer)

More of the current equipment (eg. more treadmills or weight racks)

More space with exercise machines/equipment

More open space without equipment (for activities like abdomen or plyo-metric

a 24/7 operating schedule

A Yoga/Pilates studio

A space and equipment for Zumba

A rock-climbing wall

A wider running/walking track

A longer running/walking track


Where would you like to see a new exercise facility if one were to be built? *

Current Walker building

Vacant area east of Drew Residence Hall/Bush Library

In the old Sorin Cafeteria space

On the south end of campus near the Heights/Manor/Sorin residence halls

Old main front lawn area