Oct 192011
Authors: Allison Knaus

Associated Students of CSU senate members approved a bill Wednesday night that will jumpstart the Lory Student Center renovation project and, in turn, raise fees for students sooner than expected.

Fall 2012 marks the 50th anniversary celebration of the LSC, and with it comes a $60 million student-funded renovation plan.

The project, which includes complete renovation south of the transit center, has been approved to affect student fees of the entering freshmen class of 2014 as opposed to the previously intended class of 2015.

The LSC fee increase, rising 72 percent from approximately $97 to $167, will affect current second year students and continue for the next 30 years.

Senate Bill 4109, amending the fiscal year 2012 Long Bill, passed unanimously among senate members. This decision follows a Student Fee Review Board recommendation to change the wording of the Long Bill in order to accommodate suggestions made by the project architect.

The Long Bill, originally passed in spring 2011, is a student fee increase package, which includes a sexual assault fee to create a new post in the Women and Gender Advocacy Center. The other increase included the additional $70 LSC renovation fee.

This month, CSU’s Board of Governors approved the program plan for the LSC revitalization project at $65 million –– $60 million of which plans to be bond financed through student fees and $5 million funded through LSC reserve savings and donations, explained Mike Ellis, executive director of the LSC.

The Board of Governors will vote on the commencement of renovation in December.

After much consideration, it was determined that the project could be completed a year sooner under the same intended funds, meaning the fee increase would kick in a year early, Ellis explained.

While students will be charged with the fee a year earlier than planned, it won’t go into affect until the completion of the project, unlike many current projects on campus.

“Current students are paying fees for projects they will never actually be able to use,” said ASCSU president Eric Berlinberg. “The LSC renovation fee increase won’t go in affect until the project’s complete.”

Formally, project builders had intended to complete the renovations in two phases but, after further design plans and cost estimations surfaced, the project plan took a new turn, said Wendy Bowling, ASCSU deputy director of university affairs and vice chair of the Student Fee Review Board.

Now that the legislation’s passed, Bowling said project plans are off to a great start that will benefit students.

“Not only are we saving money by completing the project a year earlier, but we are getting access to the building sooner and will only have to deal with the inconveniences of construction for a year,” Bowling said.

Heavily involved in the fee increase decision-making process, Berlinberg said the increase will greatly benefit current, as well as, future students.

“Current students will be able to take advantage of the project (completion) and this could be a major appealing factor to future students,” he said.

ASCSU beat reporter Allison Knaus can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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