The University of Washington Tacoma and the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties have partnered to develop a comprehensive student center and recreation facility on the UW Tacoma campus. The 73,000 square foot facility includes new recreational and fitness spaces, a NCAA regulation gymnasium, cardio and weight training equipment, indoor track, and locker rooms. The project includes membership in all nine YMCA locations across Pierce and Kitsap counties. Beyond the recreation and fitness programs, the facility is also a student center, including student lounge and social spaces, programming and event spaces, and student organization space. A wide range of programs, from cultural and social events to academic and career fairs, are held in the facility.
Support for this project had been in development since the Campus Life Facilities Master Plan was conducted during the 2008-2009 academic term. The study stated the following:
The UWT student body demonstrated significant need for social and lounge spaces, elements that are extremely lacking on the existing campus. Demand for dedicated student social and study spaces, as well as food service, represents the greatest need for the Tacoma campus.
The Services and Activities Fee Committee (SAFC) began to take steps to secure funding for a new student center project. Previous funding actions include:
2010 – SAFC recommended that up to 2 million of Long Term Development funds be committed to the purpose of the Student Union project.
2011 – SAFC recommended that the Services and Activities Fee be increased by 7% with the goal of furthering contributions to the Student Union. SAFC also recommended that up to $10,000 of Long Term Development funds be released for the purpose of supporting the Student Union working group.
2012 – SAFC recommended that $424,016 of remaining funds previously allocated for Longshoremen’s Hall in 2006 and 2008, be committed to the project.
In January of 2013, UW Tacoma and the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties formally announced the collaboration to build the first-ever full service Y located on a university campus. This innovative partnership was built on the common commitment of both institutions to serve the larger community.
Continued support for this project was sought from UW Tacoma students. The Student Center Planning Committee conducted a survey between April 8-19, 2013. This survey was open to all students, and was distributed to 3,960 current students through the SI411 listerve. Students were asked if they supported the development of a new student center, and if they supported a new fee of $180 per quarter to fund the project. The survey found over 97% of student respondents supported the new facility, and over 80% of student respondents supported the $180 new fee. Further support for the project also come from the Student Technology Fee Committee (STFC). Over the past several years, the STFC has intentionally saved funds to support technology for the University Y Student Facility.
In June 2013, the Services and Activities Fee Committee instituted a new student fee of $180 per quarter to support the construction and operation of the University Y Student Center. The proposed student center fee went into effect for the Winter 2015 Quarter, when the facility opened.
The project costed $20 million, and is funded through a new student fee of $180 per quarter, in addition to $4 million from UW Tacoma and $4 million from SAFC Long Term Development Funds.