Students will be paying for the EMU expansion for the next 30 years
Who paid for the entire remodel of the Student Recreation Center? Students.
Who is paying for the expansion of the Erb Memorial Union? Students.
University of Oregon students are paying the highest student fees in school history–$574 per term–and fees are likely to get higher in the near future.
That doesn’t bother students like senior Lina Antonsom, though.
“Things are a lot nicer than when I first started here,” Antonsom said.
Antonsom voted “yes” for the EMU renovation back in 2012, along with 54 percent of the student body. The renovation will cost up to $95 million — that’s $67 per student per term for the next 30 years.
Only some buildings on campus are funded through student fees as per Oregon state law, Vice President of Student Affairs Robin Holmes said. Those have to be student buildings run by the Student Affairs office, including the EMU, the SRC and the Health Center. All projects need to be approved by students through a referendum, although the university tried to use a public relations firm to help pass the EMU renovation in 2012 after two unsuccessful referendums.
By voting “yes,” students agree to add an amount of money to their bill, as well as the bill of many future students, since an F bond is paid off over 30 years.
Although students in Oregon have to pay a $45 building fee, according to state law, the fee is usually not enough to finance major projects such as the SRC and EMU renovations, Holmes said. The fee only helps out the university in a minor way.
According to Holmes, the remodel of the health center in 2007 was funded solely on building fees. However, due to the four-year delay in construction, the $11 million fund was not enough to expand the facility as the university expected. Despite the modern and functional condition, the health center is “too small and too busy” for the bursting student body. It’s also short two or three physicians and counsellors to accommodate all students’ need due to the lack of rooms and offices, Holmes said.
“The university is looking into the third expansion for the health center in 2018-2019,” Holmes said. “It’s all conceptual now, but the needs are obvious.”
UO student Janie Finnelly comes to the health center to receive a check up a few times a year. She enjoyed the service at the health center, although the clinic is always busy and crowded.
“Sometimes I have to wait 20 to 30 minutes,” she said. “Besides that I have nothing to complain about.”
The expansion will add one more floor to the current health center. The cost is not yet estimated, Holmes said. It is unknown if the project will require additional fees.
According to the annual report of tuitions and fees recorded by the Oregon University System, UO student fees for buildings on campus were $60.45 in 2005, including a $45 mandatory building fee set by the state and a $15.45 fee to pay off the SRC construction in 1997. Now the fees have increased into $205.75 to accommodate the expansion of the EMU and two constructions of the SRC.
The cost to build up the SRC will be paid off in 2027, and the $55 million renovation project will be on students’ bills for the next 30 years, until 2043. The university added an EMU fee in student fees this fall with the hope to pay off the loan in 2044.
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