Proposal presentations underway for 2016 allocation of University facilities student fees

Julia Rentsch

Members of the University Facility Fee Advisory Board listen to a proposal for expanded university composting. Photo credit: Julia Rentsch
Members of the University Facility Fee Advisory Board listen to a proposal for expanded University composting. (Photo Credit: Julia Rentsch.)

About $743,000 is collected per year via the $21-per-credit-hour University facility fee, and where this money is allocated comes down to the influence of a board of roughly 20 student advisers. 

Over the past few weeks, the University Facility Fee Advisory Board has heard 18 project proposals, which came from a variety of departments and offices on campus. Each made their case for receiving funding for their project in the fiscal year 2016.

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Some proposed projects include:

  • $700,000 over five years for an expansion of the Human Performance Clinical Research Laboratory in Moby Arena.
  • About $21,000 to renovate Gifford 145, the classroom where the Campus Connections mentoring program meets.
  • About $275,000 to greatly expand Colorado State’s composting capacity through creating a windrow composting operation near the Foothills Campus, which would allow collection from the Lory Student Center, among other places.

The money that will eventually be distributed to a selection of these projects comes from the cash-funded project portion of UFFAB’s budget, which amounts to about $1.5 million. The vast majority of UFFAB’s project money is financed through bonds, however, and amounts to about $14 million.

UFFAB is chaired by senior economics major Clayton King and vice-chaired by freshman history major Tristan Syron. The group includes student representatives from every college who will vote on which proposals will get funding April 7. 

“It’s a pretty strict, deliberate process of going through and finding out exactly what we’ll fund,” King said. “One thing we’re working on this year is figuring out exactly how we can make sure that this board gets enough student input — just enough students knowing it exists. It’s such a large fee that we’d like more student input and engagement and whatnot.” 

Commitments to several multi-year funding projects decrease the amount of funding that UFFAB has available for cash projects. Some of these long-term projects are remodeling classrooms in Wagar; the Microbiology Building and Johnson Hall; building additions onto the Behavioral Sciences Building and the Anatomy/Zoology Building and adding a health and exercise science teaching facility in Moby Arena. 

Additionally, about $200,000 from the $1.5 million will be reserved as a cushion in case enrollment drops in the following year.

For many of those involved, the outcome of these projects is extremely important to their work at CSU.

Sheela Backen, the operations manager for Facilities Management and a member of the proposal team for the windrow composting project, spoke of how long she has been working to get such a project to be possible at CSU.

“I’m very excited…. I started with thermal composting 15 years ago,” she said. “This will be a dream come true (if it passes).”

Follow along with the Collegian for updates and further information on these proposals as we move toward the voting date.

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Collegian Reporter Julia Rentsch can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @julia_rentsch.