New rock wall coming to campus

The rock wall pictured above will be similar to the new rock wall planned for UNA’s campus, according to officials.

SGA recently voted to use surplus money from what was originally intended to help purchase the Florence Golf and Country Club to buy a rock climbing wall for the Student Recreation Center. The decision is not final, but SGA plans to write and vote on a resolution in the coming weeks to finalize plans.

Senate Vice President Emily McCann said SGA began considering a rock wall for students after posting a Facebook poll to determine what students want most for campus.

“It’s important that (SGA does) what the students want,” she said. “We posted the poll, and the rock wall got the most votes, followed by a disc golf course.”

And, according to McCann, the other items students voted on in the online poll are still possibilities.

“The rock wall will only cost a very small fraction of the budget we’ve got,” she said. “We’re working with about $120,000, and we voted to allocate $20,000 for the wall.”

SRC Director Jim Eubanks said he has wanted a rock wall for the SRC for a long time.

“A rock wall was part of the original plan for the SRC,” he said. “It’s been something I’ve wanted since I got here. It will bring another element to what we can offer to the student body.”

Eubanks said adding the rock wall will be a test.

“We’ll look at how it goes as far as space and student use,” he said. “We’ll know after a while if we need to expand.”

The wall will be a flat panel system, which means it can attach to any cinderblock wall, according to Eubanks.

“We’ll be able to relocate it if we need or want to,” he said. “We could move it outdoors in good weather and have possible contests and other events for students.”

Outdoor Adventure Center Coordinator Blake Lomenick believes the wall will be popular with students.

“We’ve got a lot of students at UNA who are interested in rock climbing,” he said. “It’s a good, well-rounded workout, and there’s a lot of places around here you can go to climb. Having the wall will also generate more interest in climbing.”

After the wall is installed, the SRC will likely try to plan events involving it, according to Lomenick.

“We might try to incorporate (the wall) with intramurals,” he said. “And we’ll have possible challenges and timed contests for prizes.”

Eubanks believes the rock climbing wall will increase student use of the SRC.

“The wall will tap into a whole group of students who don’t participate in other things we do,” he said. “My main point is just to get people in the building.”

The wall will likely be a recruiting tool for UNA, according to Eubanks.

“(The wall) will be impressive to students when they’re taking tours of the university,” he said.

Eubanks said he is happy about the possible addition to the SRC.

“We’re excited about it,” he said. “We are very fortunate that SGA decided to include us in their plans.”

Lomenick said SRC and OAC student workers will staff the wall to ensure safety and proper use.