Student government leaders at California State University, Fresno announced today that student voters approved the Legacy 2000 referendum, paving the way for construction of a new on-campus recreational center in the Save Mart Center.

In one of the largest student election turnouts in recent university history — 1,934 ballots cast — students passed the referendum with 1,389 yes votes to 545 no votes. The League of Women Voters conducted the two-day election held Nov. 15 and 16 and also tallied the ballots for the University Student Union-sponsored election.

The referendum increases the service fee students pay annually from $41 to $90 per year. The increase will not be effective until after the center is built and opens, projected for 2002.

Nikiya McWilliams, chairperson of the USU student board of directors, said she was excited the student voters united to lay the funding groundwork that will make the proposed recreation center a reality.

“Finally we will have something new on campus for students,” said McWilliams, who organized a display about the rec center in the USU Pavilion with detailed floor plans for the center, copies of brochures, a mock-up of a climbing wall and other information. “I’m excited the students supported this idea.”

Arakel Arisian, Associated Students, Inc. president who, with McWiliams, led the student campaign, said he was pleased to see that “students had voted overwhelmingly for this referendum.”

“This project, along with The Save Mart Center, will transform this campus,” he said. “The turnout was tremendous. Students are not apathetic and showed they cared about this campus and the community.”