Campus Center looks for help
Posted Dec. 1, 2006

Further plans for completing the Campus Center Project at the University of La Verne – a longtime process now undergoing changes associated with Phases II and III of the master plan, along with a hefty investment by way of bond to cover related fees – were recently revealed at a Board of Trustees meeting.

An approximately $15 million bond to be repaid in annual increments over the next 30 years will be dedicated to expenses not included in the estimated costs of the entire Campus Center building itself, which will be afforded by fundraising monies.

As of now a sum of $26 million in pledged donations has been allocated to cover the anticipated $35 million price tag on the entire project, including the relocation of the baseball and soccer fields, replacement of utility wires, excavation of a 15 feet deep hole, unfinished construction needed to complete the pavilion and the erection of a parking structure, leaving a $9 million gap for the bond to fill.

The main purpose of the bond – the $15 million total is only a rough estimate as of now – will be to solve the cash flow problems created by pledged donations, which will be paid over a period of five years.

The bond would allow for the immediate completion of the Campus Center Project, something we would like to soon see finished.

It has been said that tuition fees will not be directly affected, though this statement is questionable, and that the actual cost of repaying the bond, which will begin once issued, makes up a mere .1 percent of the $110 million budget.

Part of the bond would be paid off in time by incoming donations, also making the money issue a little less traumatic.

The bigger subject at hand is the fact that bonds have limitations, only distributed for such purposes as building new property or making renovations, which is why the money will not be used to increase faculty salaries or hire new staff members, academic improvements that are also clearly needed.

In all of its glory, the reconstructed Campus Center is meant to serve as an image of prestige for the community, giving the University a competitive edge and thus causing enrollment numbers to skyrocket and academic programs to benefit from the perceived status of enhancements.

Surplus funds may be used for the renovation of the ancient Founders Auditorium, as well as for classroom upgrades, with the purpose of creating a more desirable learning environment, comparable to those provided by neighboring colleges that have also undergone makeovers with positive results.

We are most concerned with how extra funds will be used, especially since faculty and students, who know the institution best, will not impact the final decision making process. Addressing student needs on campus, such as the state of deteriorating dorms and the less-than fantastic condition of Founders Auditorium, would be more important to staff members than the relocation of the baseball/soccer fields or the erection of a parking structure, though this matter is necessary in light of city regulations. Priorities must be addressed.

We would like to see classroom improvements that would in turn help academic programs.

Current students already find the campus beautiful, its old, drafty buildings charming. The goal is to create a place that students flock to, but we wonder if the emphasis placed on the external beauty of the University is being over dramatized and if its internal beauty is being overlooked.

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