University expansion is necessary

Jake Schwebach
Jake Schwebach

CSU is a secret garden of sorts — and I’m not talking about the marijuana.

Fort Collins resonates with mountain-town coterie, intimate and supportive. Yet, it envelops a public campus that enrolls more than 31,000  students.


But, something more than atmosphere survived growth. We’re still a federal land-grant school in the 1870 sense of the term. Everything we need to build from the ground up is given to us — except money.

In 1870, the federal government gave 12 trustees a plot of land. Come 1882, we were a progressive campus of 24 women (extraordinary for the time) and 43 men with 2 faculty members and a new president. From a plot of land and fundraising.

Now, our student fees are used to erect the buildings sprouting left and right. With tuition and fees as high as they are, many students ask, will it do anything to increase the value of our degrees? Is it worth it?

Of course it will. But that question misses the point completely. Public funding is sharply declining . It is currently 10 percent of our budget. It’s not a question of benefit, but of necessity. Colorado decreased public funding for higher education 73 percent in the last 35 years. That’s more than any other state. Tony Frank warns that in the next decade that figure is likely to turn to 0 percent (WSJ).

That’s why increased student fees are necessary. But, what’s overlooked is that these projects give more than they take.

The Lory Student Center is one of many renovation and expansion projects. It ran on mechanical systems 50 years old. Aged infrastructure and the possibility for energy efficient alternatives aren’t up for compromise. Renovation and expansion projects revitalize the building to run efficiently, adapt to growth, and maximize output and inhabitability. Efficient energy, event space, student employment, and traffic efficiency generates money.

CSU is committed to global stewardship, community, and sustainability — something you want on your resume. If our campus doesn’t demonstrate what it prides itself on, higher-ups will notice.

Our image helps the value of our degrees. It also takes your education to the highest tier. This is the true value of your degree.

Look at the Student Rec Center, the UCA, the BSB, Academic and Laurel Villages, the College of Business, etcetera, etcetera. You can’t neglect the projects’ effect on our educations and notoriety. We need properly fitted facilities to fulfill the University’s mission statement.

The University Facility Fee Advisory Board (UFFAB) evaluates which projects are fit to move through the Student Fee Review Board, the ASCSU Senate and Board of Governors for approval. The UFFAB isn’t the Oracle. Our student feedback decides which projects will enhance the University.


Student fees aren’t going to solve the problem alone. Tony Frank and Co. are gambling on a more creative solution. The proposed on-campus stadium, which has the Ram community butting horns, is our main investment in the future.

An article in the Wall Street Journal explains Frank’s motivation behind the stadium. If CSU successfully bolsters it’s academic image it will advance “one of the school’s highest priorities: attracting more out-of-state students paying higher tuition.”

I think it’s selling out to a corrupt national sports culture and boosters, but that’s beside the point. It is what we have to resort to keep our tuitions low.

Last week there were articles on affirmative action. Athletics works the same way. It gives an unspoken affection bias to job interviewees if your school’s athletic program is nationally recognized.

Ever wonder why CU’s campus feels so different? They appeal to an extremely wealthy demographic by idolizing a superficial image. It’s why they will accept more out-of-state low academic standing students over good standing in-state students.

So, then, what does a moral and efficient way to fund renovation and expansion look like?

Well, I’m sure you have all noticed those green behemoths on the new Mason Corridor. The Max Rapid Transit System costs a few dollars — 89 million of them, to be precise. Yikes, right? But 80 percent of it came from the Federal government. The remaining 20 percent was covered by the city, CSU and the state Department of Transportation.  I wish education looked like this.

I don’t want our athletic culture to change. I like the monolith that is Hughes Stadium. But I stand by Tony Frank 100 percent that it’s the right decision in this climate. It’s being handled incredibly well, too. Amazing communal efforts are taking place. Likewise, I hate the increased fees, but I know that it’s necessary if we want our university to keep moving.

Jake Schwebach loves seeing University expansion. Feedback can be sent to

In Brief:

Everything that we have was given to us, except money.

Since we don’t have any federal funding coming in, it is necessary to go to student fees.

If we want to keep our university moving, we need to pay a little more.