UCC Mainstream Online

Indoor rock wall coming to campus

Students who cannot enroll in UCC’s rock climbing classes will have an on-campus rock wall next year.
Ginger Johnson and Aria Blackwood / Mainstream
Students who cannot enroll in UCC’s rock climbing classes will have an on-campus rock wall next year.

When the current ASUCC student government approved a large spending package, one of the items was $8000 for a rock climbing wall to be built in the racquetball court. However, almost immediately afterwards several current and former students raised their voices in protest, stating the rock wall a waste of money and resources. One of those who voiced his disapproval was Ellis Poole, incoming ASUCC vice-president.

“I have a hard time with it because half the funds came from student body government, which the finds do come directly from the students,” Poole said. “We have this amazing countryside here, and I don’t understand what a 20 foot rock wall will do that hundreds of feet of naturalized areas would be better at doing. I get the who rain experience and being wet and the whole safety thing but I think there is a far cry difference from a poly[plastic] rock wall compared to nature.”

Athletic director Cheryl Yoder disputes that the rock wall is a waste of money.

“It was a vote by the student government and all but one person voted for it. We have been tasked as ambassadors through the college to get more students out here. Both baseball and the rock wall would promote more student use,” Yoder said. “We don’t have a plan b when it rains, and it rains a lot in the spring. So we end up canceling classes. Students who need those credits to graduate can’t graduate because they didn’t get the class in. It could be a club, a recreational center just like the fitness center.”

Indoor rock climbing has become an increasingly popular sport. The International Olympic Committee has shortlisted the sport to possibly be included in the 2020 Olympics. According to the Climbing Business Journal, indoor rock climbing as a national industry grew by 10 percent in 2013, saw the construction of 28 new commercial climbing gyms and the closure of only one According to IBIS World, indoor rock climbing generated approximately $147 million dollars annually in the United States and is expected to continue to grow along with a recovering economy. Eugene, Oregon has had a successful rock climbing gym (The Crux) in operation for many years, while the University of Oregon has also built a climbing wall for its students.

As a student government officer, Poole would rather see the money go to educational needs. “Students with disabilities can’t even afford technical assistance with classes. They have to retake the class rather than getting the support they need. That’s major,” Poole said.