MizzouRec rock wall’s fate uncertain

Dahlmann said the overcrowding in Pump Room has prompted talks about possibly removing the wall.
Senior climbing technician Nathan Dierkes climbs on the Scroggs Peak rock wall inside the MU Student Recreation Complex on Sept. 4. MizzouRec is considering plans to take out the wall to expand the Pump Room.

The fate of the rock wall in the MU Student Recreation Complex is uncertain.

Speculations continue that Scroggs Peak, a 35.5-foot climbing tower, and Brewer Butte, a 180-square-foot bouldering wall, may be taken down within the next year, but no final decision has been reached so far.

Mizzou Rec Director Diane Dahlmann held a “rally” with the center’s staff Aug. 31, where projects for the upcoming year were discussed.

Dahlmann said the possibility of taking down the wall to expand the Pump Room, which is becoming increasingly overcrowded, was discussed at the event.

“So many factors go into this conversation, which is why we presented it at the rally,” she said. “We are in the process of studying and looking at the Pump Room problem, and this is just one option for it.”

Usage of the wall has significantly decreased in the last five years.

At the wall’s peak in the 2009-2010 academic year, 236 annual passes were sold for a fee of $39 each. Last year, only 138 annual passes were sold.

Only seven passes have been sold since the beginning of this academic year, but Dahlmann said she expects sales to increase throughout the year.

After the possibility of taking the wall down was discussed, fearful students flocked to social media to air their concerns.

Senior Jamie Blankinship created a Facebook page called “Save the Mizzou Rec Wall” to spread awareness on the issue and collect personal testimonials in an attempt to save the wall.

The Facebook group had more than 830 members as of Tuesday.

“I am not surprised that the group has gained so much momentum,” Blankinship said. “The wall is a really important place to a lot of past and present students. For me, the community that I found there is what kept me from transferring to another school.”

However, because Blankinship is a Mizzou Rec employee, she cannot lead any more plans to save the wall.

“I just wanted to start the discussion,” she said. “I will continue to encourage everyone I meet to come in and try it out, but that's all I can do at this point.”

MU graduate Wesley White said he first heard the news from Blankinship’s Facebook group.

“My college experience was really shaped by climbing, and I don’t want that taken away from future generations,” White said. “If the wall is taken down, a lot of students will never have the same opportunities I had.”

White, along with dozens of other current and former MU students, expressed their concerns on the Facebook page, writing paragraphs of personal testimonials and listing dozens of reasons why MU should not remove the wall.

Another Facebook page, “MizzouRec PumpRoom Expansion,” was created on Sept. 3 to support the expansion of Pump Room. It is currently not clear who founded the page, but the page had garnered nearly 230 members as of Tuesday evening.

“We have received such magnificent testimonials from parents, students, and alums, and those are very valuable in coming to a decision,” Dahlmann said. “Part of our job here is to listen to students and solve problems.”

Dahlmann said she anticipates a decision to be reached sometime this school year.

“The only decision the department made was to try to come up with options to solve the Pump Room problem,” she said. “We know this might be the best option, but we don't necessarily need to exercise it.”

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