Walking up the stairs to the second floor of the Dixon Center, the men’s lacrosse team, made up of 50 student-athletes, has to get ready and dressed in the dance studio or the hallway before every scrimmage and game because the men’s locker room does not fit all of them.
Cabrini College has 16 varsity teams and 87 Colonial States Athletic Conference Championships, but with a fitness center with only one locker room each for men and women and open to the public, Cabrini athletes rarely have an opportunity to get dressed as a team.
“Right now it’s not big enough for all the students and the fitness center is crowded,” Deb Takes, interim president, said. “You can’t have Zumba classes, you can’t have exercise classes when the lacrosse team is getting ready in the hallway and dance studio, it’s ridiculous.”
Marketing major and lacrosse goalie Christopher Treat expresses his concern that “because there’s so much contact with the floor between walking on the floor, sports equipment bags being placed on the floor – which are stored on the bottom of buses – and people working out on the same floor, there’s a chance that is floor unsanitary and could pose a danger to students.”
Therefore a master plan was made and the preliminary approval was finalized in January of 2012. This plan involves many components and has yet to be approved by Radnor Township. According to Takes, the plan for Dixon that was originally made, was different than the plan Cabrini came up with this past August.
This expansion is not only for the benefit of student-athletes or students that use the fitness center, it is also for those who commute or keep their cars on campus and for students looking for more enticing things to do on campus.
Currently, the first phase of this master plan is in place; the Dixon center will be adding an addition to the front right and then expanding the back right of the building to add not only more lockers for student-athletes to use but another gymnasium as well. No trees will be cut down in this process. However, the problem is not the trees; the biggest issue Cabrini is currently dealing with is the slope of the land. Takes explained that the slope of the land is such that we cannot put a building on it. So when someone looks at how much land Cabrini actually has, there really is not much.
“From a Cabrini pride perspective, we have championship teams and because of our facilities, championship games – of which we are a part of, cannot be played here,” Takes said. “We have to go some place else because they won’t come here, there are no lockers.”
What is going on is no different than what has been going on for the past four years with the addition of a student center and two parking structures with then trying to make the campus more pedestrian friendly. The student center is the last phase of this plan and consists of a snack bar, a theater and more places for students to congregate.
“The expansion of the Dixon center will potentially bring in more revenue for the institution,” Jessica Johnson-Petty, senior communication major, said.
However, not all students are excited about this expansion and some feel as though the money should be spent differently. “I don’t necessarily dislike the expansion, I just think that our money can be used more wisely,” Madeline Coutu, sophomore social work and religious studies major, said. “I think it is important to focus on the counseling center because their budget continuously gets decreased and there’s no administrative assistance in there as of now and I think that is more important than building space or room for gym facilities when our enrollment is not necessarily increasing.”
Some students said they would prefer the money to go towards solving different issues like housing and resident buildings, clubs, health services, a modern theater that is not attached to Grace Hall, better internet and another turf field.
The money however is not the issue because donations from alumni will be raised in order to pay for the expansion.
“There is a process for getting this done and it has absolutely nothing financially to do with the Dixon Center,” Takes said. “The Dixon Center is a capitol project, running a club is a day-to-day expense. Two totally different categories of cash while they coexist financially, one is an annual thing and one is a twenty year project.”
Approximately 22 percent of undergraduates at Cabrini are student-athletes. According to Takes, Dixon is almost 20 years old as it was built in 1998 and the focus of the country currently as a whole is on fitness and athletic activity to stay healthy and that Cabrini “would be doing a disservice by not providing some kind of athletic facility for the students who just want to work out.”
“Although it would get enrollment up, subsequently to expand the Dixon center,” Danton Moyer, political science major, said. “I think the main concern should be academics and the integrity of the school and what pertains to students, what makes it a destination school, somewhere students want to go, or when people do get here, there is enough housing, places to go and places to succeed.”
This expansion will also be a recruitment task, as it will entice more student-athletes to Cabrini.
“I think athletics plays an important role at Cabrini and an updated facility could make a difference in attracting talented athletes and students who might otherwise select another school,” Dr. Dawn Francis, assistant professor of communication, said. “Of course, as a faculty member, I would like to see funding put into new programs, existing programs and academic initiatives. But I also see the validity in making investments that help with recruitment purposes as well.”
Majority of students who filled out a survey stated they would prefer the money go towards housing and resident buildings, but they are at least glad to see the money is going back to student facilities and hope that this will be a positive step in continuing to improve and update the campus.
“I think that our athletes and the people who use that facility deserve space and appropriate facilities, like real locker rooms and enough equipment,” Robyn Suchy, senior double major in philosophy and English, said. “But there are definitely ways that other parts of campus could be improved, more study space in the library, updating of the res halls, creating more outdoor space. We need to start somewhere.”