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April 17, 2014 Vol. 47, Issue 11

PIONEER The

Campus:

Card game born at Pierce, Page 2

A public forum for Pierce College students of Lakewood, Wash.

Halfway along a debt’s path to repayment Pierce College makes progress in funding the Health and Wellness Center

Daniel Konicek/Graphic

Cameron Cyprain Staff Writer In 2001, the Nisqually Earthquake devastated a large athletic pool positioned where the Health Education Center (HEC) building now stands. Following the disaster, students and faculty were faced with the trying decision of demolishing what was then an unsightly ruin or rebuilding the space with a fully equipped fitness facility at a reduced price. They chose the latter. The price of manufacturing the HEC building was no small feat however, and with a price tag of approximately $10 million, the proj-

In this issue:

ect would require assistance from the state. So, Pierce made a deal with the state of Washington: the state provides approximately $5, 150, 000 to the college at an interest rate of 4.4%, which is matched by Pierce. There was still the issue of raising $5 million within the necessary time frame. It would require 20 years to finalize the arrangement. “We started payments in 2006, so the loan will be paid off by 2026,” said Sylvia Derrick, Director of Fiscal Services. In 2003, Student Government made it possible for students to vote on the matter, and a referendum to implement the COP fee was subse-

quently passed. This allowed Pierce College to assess an additional $3.50 per credit at a time when tuition was a quarterly $2, 078. Construction for the HEC building began in 2006 and it’s grand opening was in 2007. The COP fee, which now constitutes a portion of the building fee, was implemented more than a decade ago, so students tend to dismiss it as nothing more than a mandatory expense. “It’s been nearly 11 years, of course students don’t know about it,” said athletic director Duncan Stevenson, “these sort of votes often affect future students more than they do students enrolled at the

time of the vote… even the athletes don’t know about it, I always have to tell them ‘you’re lucky to have this.’” There are some quarrels to be had with the fee and its nature however, with students even expressing a desire for that which was replaced by the HEC building. “I wish there was a pool, no one really works out [in the gym],” said Berkan Koroglu, “Most people go to the military base [Joint Base Lewis-McChord] because they have a pool.” Of course, this would only apply to students who prefer aquatic activities to land-based aerobic exercises or weight training. The gym’s ultimate cost to students who utilize it is $50 after add-

Center:

Campus:

Campus Collage, Page 4

Spring activities are blooming, Pages 6&7

A&E:

‘Divergent’ gives insight into a corrupt society, Page 9

ing in the one-time $15 fee required each quarter for access. That’s a bargain when compared to the average cost of commercial gym memberships, which can run from $40 to $50 a month at an annual cost of $800, counting the initiation fee. Few community colleges can claim the same, “it’s still a great deal… it’s quite rare in the junior college world,” said HEC Operations Manager Doug Carlson, who spoke in favor of the overall value of the facility. Currently, $4, 954, 390.71 is still owed, however most of the initial expenses have gone towards paying off interest.

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