Post Classifieds

MU prepares for student center fee

By NoÃlle Bernard
On September 20, 2010

  • The Armstrong Student Center will be completed in two phases with student fees implemented after each is completed. The fees were approved by ASG in the 2009-2010 school year.

After two construction phases, the transformation of the Armstrong Student Center (ASC) will be complete and open for students in the next few years.

The first phase of the project is predicted to be finished in early 2014, allowing students partial access to the ASC. When that phase is complete, each student's bursar account will be charged a facilities fee.

The Associated Student Government (ASG) adopted this resolution with the intention that the fees would cover about half of the cost of construction of the student center.

According to Carson Cowles, president of Student Senate, the student fees are necessary because of the strict timeline of completion and for the assurance of enough money raised.

"There has been a call for a new student center for over 10 years," Cowles said. "We can't raise the money in time for the whole building to be completely donated."

According to David Creamer, vice president for finance and business services, the facility fees will not be a burden to students.

"The cap is at $125 a semester, that's the maximum after both phases of the project would be completed," Creamer said. "The maximum amount for the first phase is $110 a semester. That will not be in effect until the building opens (after the first phase). That's consistent with the resolution ASG passed last year."

The facility fees will be combined between the two phases and the amount may become lower than the $125 a semester if the ASC receives more donations than expected.

"The way the resolution is written that half the project of the first phase is being funded through gifts the other half is being funded by the student fee," Creamer said. "If the gifts are larger than expected, then the fees will be reduced and we will probably have a sense of the total gifts for the project by the end of the (school) year."

Junior Ryan Boyer thinks the fees are understandable.

"I think implementing fees is necessary and it won't seem like that much when added to the other fees that we are already paying," Boyer said.

According to Creamer, the duration of the fees is still unknown but it is estimated to last the life of the predicted debt of the ASC, which is 30 years.

The construction of the ASC will be completed in two phases. The first phase is predicted to be complete in early 2014, with the "renovations of Gaskill and Rowan Hall and the construction of the new central structure." The second phase will consist of the moving of Miami's physics department to the renovated Kreger Hall and the renovation of Culler Hall, according to the ASC project overview.

"The three buildings across from Shriver (Culler, Gaskill, and Rowan halls) will be connected into one big building," Cowles said. "Everything is on schedule right now, but we're still trying to get more donations."

The second phase is projected to begin in December 2013 and students would have an operating fee added to the facility fee that adheres to the resolution of not exceeding $125, Creamer said.

According to Creamer, the project is expected to cost about $50 million and so far roughly $24 million have been raised.

"The student fee will cover the $25 million of that plus the financing cost," Creamer said. "We expect $25 million in funds toward the project that need to occur from gifts, and it will take about $30 million in gifts because there will be some financing costs and all those gifts wont be received at the outset of the project."

The current schedule of completion is 2015, but Creamer said he is confident that timeline will change. He said the project is expected to break ground early next spring, but a definite date has not been set.

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