08:30 AM

Students to Vote on Referendum for New Wellness and Recreation Facility

Next month, Cal State San Marcos students will have a chance to make their voices heard regarding their desire for a new wellness and recreation facility on campus.

From April 9-11, a referendum will be held in which students can vote on whether they want to increase their student fees to fund the project. Voting will begin on Tuesday, April 9 at 7 a.m. and be open until Thursday, April 11 at 5 p.m. Ballots will be sent to eligible students via their university-registered email addresses. All matriculated students who pay the recreation fee are eligible to vote. 

The wellness and recreation facility would be the first of its kind in the California State University system. The referendum is proposing to lease about 60,000 square feet of space in a new multi-phase student housing building on Barham Drive, next to The QUAD housing complex. The facility is envisioned as a central hub dedicated to lifelong success, bringing together health, wellness, basic needs and student support services and programs that create a sense of community and well-being.

The current recreation fee for students is $35 per semester. The direct operating costs for the facility require the fee to be fully active when the building opens, at minimum. Because the facility is anticipated to open in fall 2026, the fee is proposed to increase to $265 starting a year before, in fall 2025.

The additional fee revenue will support the purchase of furniture and equipment, and fund the pre-opening hires of full-time and part-time staff, the training of part-time student staff, and the development of branding and materials.

Each subsequent fall semester, the fee would increase by 3% to adjust for inflation and increases in the expense budget, which is standard practice in the CSU. During the summer term, the fee would be 25% that of the prior fall semester fee.

The wellness and recreation facility would provide student-oriented spaces and services to support all Cougars while promoting the eight dimensions of wellness (emotional, physical, social, spiritual, financial, intellectual, environmental and occupational).

“With a diverse student body, CSUSM stands committed to prioritizing physical and mental wellness as vital components to student development and providing valuable access to resources for students to learn and develop long-term healthy behaviors,” said Lisa Dickinson, the director of Campus Recreation.

Among the proposed features of the facility are:

  • more than 10,000 square feet for cardio machines and strength training equipment (more than triple the space of the fitness center in Clarke Field House).
  • dedicated wellness areas that include mindful reflection space, comfortable lounge seating and massage chairs for students to relax and rest. 
  • an outdoor rooftop deck featuring a synthetic turf field for fitness programs, intramurals, sport club workouts, team-building, student organization events or other student activities. 
  • two standard-sized indoor courts suitable for basketball, volleyball, pickleball and events, with a spectator viewing area. 
  • three multipurpose rooms featuring flexible flooring for a variety of individual and group activities, including Zumba, hip-hop dance, strength-based cardio, yoga, Pilates or mindfulness/meditation sessions. 
  • multiple activity rooms and gathering areas to accommodate a wide range of wellness programming.
  • an esports digital collaboration area for gaming practice, competitions, spectator viewing, studying and socializing. 
  • an outdoor courtyard of over 8,000 square feet with hammocks and a wood deck patio.

CSUSM students have advocated for increased wellness, basic needs and recreational spaces and services to support campus community for almost a decade. Since 2019, working groups of students and staff have been tasked to identify ways to achieve this goal. The effort has included two student surveys garnering almost 2,500 responses and multiple focus groups and forums with more than 250 students, staff and administrators.

Recent data suggests that student interest and desire for the expansion of wellness, fitness, basic needs and recreation remain overwhelming. In a survey last fall, 91% of students said a new facility should be a high priority for CSUSM, with 53% indicating a “very high” priority. Asked about the impact that a new facility could have on students and the university community, more than 90% of students surveyed said it would make a significant or moderate impact on attracting new students, improving students’ quality of life, reducing stress and overall enhancing the campus community.

More than 50 student ambassadors are leading the campaign to educate and inform students about the fee referendum and encourage them to use their voice by voting.

“I am excited for the chance to see our campus grow and compete with CSU schools that have established recreation and wellness facilities,” said Alyssa Loschiavo, Campus Recreation student coordinator and a student ambassador. "This project can be monumental for CSUSM and inspiring for students to look back on helping bring the facility to campus, and I am proud to be a part of it.”

For more information, including the complete voters guide and a list of FAQs about the referendum, go to: https://www.csusm.edu/rec/referendum.html.

Media Contact

Brian Hiro, Communications Specialist

bhiro@csusm.edu | Office: 760-750-7306