Fee may fund center renovations
Published: Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 22:12
ETSU students may find a new $25 fee tacked to their tuition for the fall 2014 semester.
The Student Government Association met Tuesday to discuss the possibility of renovations to the D.P. Culp Center.
“The renovations would include increased focus on advisement, the ARC would be moving to Stone Hall and Stone Hall would be taken off as a residence hall,” SGA President Mike Wallace said.
“Also, the Student Organization Resource Centers would all be combined into one space, freeing up other spaces, and that would provide new space for different opportunities.”
Initially, a $55 per semester fee was proposed that students would pay with tuition, but the SGA voted to adopt new amendments to the legislation to bring the student fee down to $25 per semester.
Section 3 of the resolution states that each semester, the university will match a $25 fee that each student pays, equaling $50 per student. If the resolution is passed, the fees will be implemented beginning fall 2014 and will discontinue when the project is finished.
The legislation has been tabled to next semester and the decision will officially be made on Jan. 28.
Some senators agreed that a more attractive student life center could increase enrollment, but feedback from the students suggests that they already feel they are paying too much.
“I’ve talked to quite a few students and I posted a Facebook post yesterday, Senator Katie Starrett said. “The general feel students have is that they don’t understand why we’re renovating the Culp right now.
“ETSU is definitely growing and I think that’s incredible, but at the same time, with so much growth, that’s putting a lot of financial strain on students. I think we’re just asking a lot from them right now with as much as we’ve got going on.”
Starrett also said that students are wary of the proposal because they do not have a lot of information about what the renovations would consist of.
“If we knew what the money would be going toward, we would be more in favor,” she said. “A lot of students think we should bring this back up after we’ve done a little more research to see what we could have.”
Wallace and other SGA members visited Middle Tennessee State University and Appalachian State University to determine what changes could be made to ETSU’s university center.
“[The changes] we’re not so sure of,” Wallace said. “We’re still in student input and that kind of thing. They would include more lounge space and maybe a game lounge or a coffeehouse-type space.”
The issue was brought to the SGA’s attention when students complained about there not being enough cheap or healthy options offered in the Culp Center.
“Obviously, we tried to get something done about that this year,” Starrett said. “We got Taco Bell as a cheap food option and then we got Field of Greens which is a more healthy option, but students still aren’t particularly happy with how the Culp is.”
A remodeled student life center could benefit students, Wallace said in the meeting.
Commuters would have a more comfortable place to spend time between classes and a refurbished Culp Center will give more opportunity for the university to grow, he said.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, but I definitely think there are improvements that can be made,” Starrett said. “But if students don’t want the fee increase, I’m not going to vote for it.”
Students may comment on the SGA’s official Facebook page and Twitter, or email SGA senators with their opinions on the fee and renovations.