Since the reveal of the Wellness Center’s 420,000-square-foot expansion last February, the multipurpose rooms on the second floor have experienced substantial damage and must undergo repair. Made of soft maple wood, the floors can be easily bruised and marked by jump ropes, broomsticks, tap dancing shoes and nails, a result of overuse and guideline violations.
According to Al Rose, assistant director of facilities, the floors are built with multiple layers, each of which can be sanded to fix them. However, continuous misuse of each layer ultimately leads to the entire floor’s replacement, a move that can come with a $50,000 price tag. As of now, the Wellness Center has paid $9,700 for resurfacing of the floor’s upper layer.
Because of this, a majority of the Wellness Center’s rooms are now locked and can only be accessed with a reservation. Reserving a multipurpose room costs students $30 an hour, a fee that many student organizations are not accustomed to paying.
Typically, officially registered student organizations would rent a room for long practices or a series of tryouts, but would use the free, open rooms for shorter, spontaneous rehearsals.
Without a reservation, any member of the Wellness Center could also use the free room, but organizations are now forced to rent out the entire space just for themselves.
Dance organizations in particular are now having difficulty finding practice and rehearsal space, often resorting to off-campus facilities with less expensive rates.
The University Center ballrooms are sometimes used as an alternative space, though the lack of mirrors, floor tiles and tight scheduling discourages these organizations from using them.
“We’re just really mad because we’re an official Miami organization and we can’t use the room to practice for UM events that we have to perform at,” said Tayler White, public relations chair of Miami Ballroom. “We’re forced to go elsewhere to find a practice space that is not made for our shoes and doesn’t have mirrors. There’s nowhere else on campus that has a wood floor and mirrors.”
Several of these organizations, including Miami Ballroom, Miami Motion and KAOS, are uniting to write a letter to the Wellness Center, asking for the rooms to once again be open.
“If the Wellness Center doesn’t hear us out we’re hoping the university will,” White said. “Just in the past we’ve talked to so many people and they’re really strict, so we’re thinking of bringing this to the board or the president.”
Similarly, KAOS uses the mirrors in the multipurpose rooms to improve their skills.
“We’re not even practicing in there anymore because it’s not in our budget to pay $30 for an hour,” KAOS President Julianne Aerhee said. “Most of our practices are two hours, which would be $60 for a rehearsal, and we’re a small team. We don’t have that kind of money.”