As a part of ONU’s “Stronger Together” fundraising Campaign, one of the main objectives is to allocate funds towards expanding King Horn “to meet the recreation and wellness needs of students, faculty, and staff.” While King Horn currently offers the equipment and facilities for an array of fitness goals, the overcrowding due to athlete use inhibits its usage by the general student population. Some may disagree, but it is essential that King Horn’s funding be prioritized.

The facility, which opened in 1975 and was last expanded in 1991, desperately needs a modern update. While the facility does feature dedicated spaces for various sports, including a six-lane swimming pool, weight rooms, indoor and outdoor tracks, wrestling room etc., these spaces are and have been compact and minuscule compared to a large number of enrolled students. Students are frequently heard complaining about the space being overcrowded or feeling uncomfortable.

King Horn needs to be expanded in order to accommodate the growing needs of the student body. 

As part of the fundraising efforts, a primary goal is addressing the needs of student-athletes. While this focus on one peer group may seem unfair, by providing designated facilities to student-athletes, the other areas of King Horn will become readily available to the rest of the students seeking to use the facilities.

Although the ONU community can use the King Horn facilities at no cost, students often opt to go to the gym located in town, or even drive to nearby cities and pay for a gym membership. College students are choosing to do this because they won’t have to fight the crowds and restrictive timings for when weight rooms are available at King Horn. Using the funding to expand King Horn, students who are already paying for the usage of King Horn included in their tuition would actually be able to utilize that benefit.

This expansion would allow King Horn to engage in other internal development to keep up with trends in the health and wellness world. For example, while there is a pre-existing dance and exercise room, due to the weight rooms being reserved for athletes and restricting usage to other students, the overflow may end up in rooms that can be dedicated to other fitness goals. Funding will allow yoga practitioners and dancers also to be able to use King Horn spaces more leisurely. 

When more room becomes available, and space is available more readily, no longer subject to the athletic schedule, this funding may also be used towards establishing fitness classes which students are currently going to the local library and out of town to get to.

Academic institutions have the responsibility of providing options for students to decompress. Athletic centers such as King Horn provide a health and wellness sanctuary students should be able to comfortably frequent.  Students should not have to travel outside of campus or pay for memberships to do what they could within walking distance and included in their tuition. Allocating prioritized funding to King Horn’s development will better the ONU community by elevating the pre-existing amenities to meet the needs of a modern and growing community. 

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