With more than 10,000 visitors per week, the RecPlex is one of the most used buildings on the University of Dayton campus.
This, however, has caused problems of late, as locker room amenities have become a source of frustration for many students and faculty members.
While the men’s locker room contains a total of 266 individual lockers, just 24 are available for free, daily use. The rest — all but 12 of which are already occupied — are rented out to members at rates of $50 and $80 per year.
According to Mark Hoying, assistant director for facilities and memberships, the decision to change locker room rental policies last semester came after numerous member requests to do so.
“I’ve had at least 30 of our members come to me and ask if those [day-use] units were available for rent,” Hoying said. “Despite the way some may perceive it, we didn’t make the decision so people wouldn’t have a locker. We did it so we could provide better services to more members.”
Hoying said in his experience current students rarely use the lockers, opting to put their belongings on benches nearby. While official counts weren’t readily available, he said that between 10 and 20 percent of the lockers occupied on any given day are used by students while the rest are used by faculty, staff or other members.
He said he understands the concerns he’s been hearing from those opposed to locker rental, but at the end of the day more people will be helped than hurt by the policy alteration.
Student Government Association president Emily Kaylor, a senior political science major, said the issue has never been brought to her attention until now, but hopes more students will help shed light on the situation.
“The RecPlex was built for students and by students,” said Kaylor. “There’s a fee included in the tuition for student activities, so we’re paying not just to use the building but to keep it around, too.”
At rates of $50 for a basic half-locker and $80 for a premium, full locker, Kaylor said the cost of the rental is impractical for most students, adding that the RecPlex could offer students priority or a discounted rate.
Hoying said the locker-room lockers aren’t the only option for available storage in the building.
“Our coin lockers are really underused. People don’t really even know about them,” Hoying said. “They’re not very big, but most of the time, they’ll hold whatever students need them to aside from backpacks.”
Though most attempts to speak to students about the issue were declined, a few students did say they think charging for lockers at all is unnecessary.
Junior communication major John Keefe has never had problems with finding an open locker — he, like many, doesn’t use them — but for those who do, he thinks there should not be a cost.
“For how much we pay to go to school here, you should be able to have a locker if you want it,” he said. “If you’re not a student, you should have to [pay], but students should get them for free.”
Keefe added that he thinks having rentals is unfair and it would be easier for people if they were all open for use.
“Make them all daily,” he said. “Free for 24-hour use.”
For freshman marketing student Conner Haenszel, finding a locker isn’t a problem, either.
“I’ve never had an issue … But free, daily lockers sure sounds nice,” he said. “I’m sure it’s in some way practical; the university could find funds to do it.”
Kaylor said that it would make sense to avoid putting locks on the lockers that haven’t been rented yet.
“Students could use those spaces until someone asks to rent it,” she said.
In the meantime, Kaylor said she is hoping to figure out how to resolve this issue with student input.
And so is Hoying.
“In the long run, we’re doing what we can to help our members,” Hoying said. “I’m always open to suggestions.”