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The money behind the magic: A look into the new student center's budget

By LibMueller
On February 7, 2014

Students, donors and the university alike see their dollars at work creating, maintaining and celebrating the grand new addition to campus, the Armstrong Student Center (ASC).

The ASC will cost about $860,000 to operate this school year, according to the 2013-14 Miami University Operating Budget. In addition, the ASC has budgeted $550,000 for debt repayments as well as $320,000 for contingency repairs, bringing its total projected expenditures to $1.73 million.

The ASC expects to recoup $1.72 million of these costs from student fees, according to Vice President of Finance and Business Services David Creamer.

"The Student Center additional fee on the bill, $110 per semester, that fee goes to pay for operation of the building as well as some set of services," Creamer said. "That amount is provided for the director of the facility and they develop a budget that covers both operating costs and staff."

Creamer said the additional student fee to support the ASC will stay in place for years to come.

The student center is projected to more than make up the remaining deficit through $15,000 in projected revenue streams this year, according to the Operating Budget.

"It has a set of revenues that it generates from its activities and that helps to support the creation of its budget," Creamer said. "There will be a set of fees for the building, rentals for some of the space that will generate revenue."

According to Creamer, rentals would include use of the meeting room space and the ballroom space.

Director of the ASC Katie Wilson provided details about fees from student center activities.

"There's a fee scheduled for use of the facility by university departments, non-university users and student organizations when their event is an event fundraiser or they're selling tickets," Wilson said. "If they're using technology, we have a fee schedule so that we have a fund to keep our technology up-to-date."

For opening events like the SnowBall, additional money was provided, according to Wilson.

"We were given an allocation from the university for some startup expenses," Wilson said. "That included doing a big kickoff event."

The university allocated the SnowBall funds separate from the Associated Student Government (ASG) budget, Wilson said.

"That was an accumulation from donors who wanted to make sure this went well," Herbert said.

According to Wilson, the SnowBall event cost around $27,000. The largest expenses were food, decorations and marketing.

Cole Tyman was co-chair of the event planning process for the gala. He said the number of students who attended SnowBall exceeded expectations.

"It was somewhere between 1,500 and 1,800 [students]," Tyman said.

To manage the budget, the student planners were advised by a faculty member who oversaw the spending.

"We were given the task of creating a student-focused large-scale event," Tyman said.

Events like the SnowBall will be remembered by the student body for years to come, according to Tyman.

"I think it gives students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really use this building and set the bar for what this building is supposed to be used for," Tyman said. "We only get the chance once to open the Armstrong Student Center and by doing events like SnowBall, it puts it in the heads of future students the caliber of things that can be done with this space."

Although the university provided the money for the SnowBall, the dedication event today was sponsored by University Advancement. University Advancement identifies and solicits contributions and gifts to the university and builds relationships with university stakeholders.

Vice President and Executive Director of Miami University Foundation Tom Herbert said donations were given to University Advancement for the dedication event.

"That was an accumulation from donors who wanted to make sure this went well," Herbert said.

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