North Dakota has spent the last few years in a very positive economic atmosphere, growing while most other states declined in activity. With this increase in revenue comes a growth throughout the state. Small cities like Valley City, North Dakota plan to continue with this trend by building a new Health, Wellness, and Physical Education Center that will benefit both Valley City State University students and Valley City residents.
“The $16 million Wellness Center, to be open to both the VCSU and Valley City communities, [will] likely include a multipurpose arena and court space, a pool/aquatic center, a walking track, a cardiovascular fitness center, a weight room, classrooms, locker rooms, children’s playground, a community room, and administrative offices,” as described in the August 2014 addition of the VCSU Bulletin.
The Valley City Parks & Recreation website shares their enthusiasm expressing, “A Wellness Center for our community would certainly be a ‘game changer’ – it would be a tremendous investment in our community, and it would serve Valley City residents and VCSU students for years to come.”
Along with these great features, must come a consideration for the fees. According to Steve Urness from NewsDakota.com, “The Wellness Center would be financed using a state grant, private contributions, a portion of city sales tax fund used for development, VCSU student fees, and a public fundraising drive.” The many public contributions include a $40,000 donation from Lafarge, a $500,000 donation from Valley Development Corporation, a $500,000 donation from the Food and Beverage Grant, and a $200,000 donation from FEI Inc., as reported by Bonnie Jo Conley, a reporter from the Valley City Times Record.
Along with a city vote for approval, VCSU held voting for approval of an increase in student fees. Heidi Harris, from the Valley City Times Record, reports, “Sixty-four percent of Valley City State University students who voted, approved a student fee increase to help fund the operating expenses.” The fee will range from $10 to $12 depending on the amount of credits a student takes.
This fee may be the downfall in the plans created, as VCSU students are not as positive about the new amenities as the rest of Valley City. KaSaundra Peterson, a junior at VCSU majoring in Business Management states, “I think the Wellness Center is overall a good idea, but there are some parts that are not necessary. Having students pay as part of tuition for memberships is not positive.” She is not the only student who shares this view.
Andrew Glacier, a junior at VCSU and a lifetime resident of the Valley City area asserts, “Valley City has all the things that they want to put into the center, so I think it is a waste of time and money.” Some feel the decision could have used a little more forethought. An employee at VCSU who wishes to remain anonymous questioned, “Is the Wellness Center really necessary and are the numbers right for people who need it, or is this just a want?”
However, some students can look past the fee. Natasha Hintz, a senior at VCSU says, “The Wellness Center is a great opportunity to promote fitness in our community.” Jessica Puhr agrees stating, “The Wellness Center is a very good idea for both the city of Valley City and the University. It will give the citizens and VCSU students a great place to spend time and to workout.”
Although there are still some negative views from VCSU students, the Wellness Center is well on its way to becoming the new attraction in Valley City, and residents and organizations seem to be on board.