Student Fees Support the Stroh CenterAuthor: chevona | Filed under: BGSU, Enterprise Story, Sports, Spring 2012, Student Contributor
The Stroh Center is the shinny new facility that sits off Wooster Street welcoming everyone that exits the interstate to Bowling Green State University. Although this building is a beautiful addition to the campus, students have begun to question whether the Stroh Center was a beneficial asset to the university and to their pockets.
The new facility comes with the sticker price of $36 million dollars. In 29 years when the building is paid off, students would have paid for more than 61 percent of the cost.
Chief Financial Officer Sheri Stoll explained in an email that $14 million of the total project came from private donations and the remaining $22 million came from issuing bonds (similar to a loan). These bonds will get repaid through student fees.
This debt was approved by USG and then re-approved through a student referendum in 2009, which received over 60 percent of students support.
“Of course students would agree to the idea of paying a fee three years ago, they won’t be here when it’s time to pay,” said Kristi Ketchum, a senior film production major.
Associate Athletic Director of Internal Affairs Jim Elsasser explained that for the next 29 years until the building is paid off, students would be charged a $50 fee each semester.
This means that an average student would spend approximately $400 on fees for the Stroh Center.
USA Today reported on the issue of universities nation-wide spending millions of dollars on new sports facilities and leaving the burden of the debt for students to pay, making this a national issue.
The investigators of 10 News reported that the University of Southern Florida athletic department receives 36 percent of their funding through
subsidized student fees. In addition to this, USF is preparing to build a new football stadium having students support a percentage of the cost through additional fees.
University of California Berkeley is discussing changing the university from a division two school to a division one. The Wall Street Journal reported that there are certain criterions that a facility must meet in order to meet division one standards. The renovations are estimated to start at $321 million and the university was only able to secure $31 million in cash. Students at UC Berkeley are questioning where the rest of the funding will come from.
The difference between Bowling Green and other universities is that Bowling Green asked the student of their opinion prior to charging them.
Elsasser explained that it was important that the university understood that the students supported the idea of the Stroh and supported funding the building, since the building is for them. There is no mistaking the great difference in the amount it would cost to construct a basketball facility in comparison to a football stadium, however the fact remains that universities around the nation are placing the burden of these new facilities on the students.
Sports Management Assistant Professor Brian McCullough said that it is extremely difficult to receive donations with the economy fluctuating the way it is and it takes a level of creativity to figure out how to fund a large project like the Stroh.
In looking for a replacement for Anderson Arena, Assistant Vice President of Capital Planning Bob Waddle said that the idea to renovate or expand Anderson proved to be very costly, so the decision to build an entirely new facility was made since it would be more cost effective.
All the money that the facility makes of ticket sales of games, concerts and family shows stays within the Stroh to maintain the building. Essentially the Stroh pays for itself, which helps save the university money.
The $36 million athletic facility offers amenities that Anderson Arena did not. Stroh offers more comfortable seating for guests, a practice gym, a training room, a team lounge, state-of-the-art equipment for players to train with, and three separate locker rooms for the men’s and women’s basketball teams and the women’s volleyball team.
A’uston Calhoun, junior power forward for the men’s basketball, said his favorite thing about the Stroh is having everything you need in one place.
The Stroh Center was built with the intent to benefit not only the university and its students but reach out to the community.
“The goal of this space was to offer a convocation center that would reach out not only to the students of BG but engage the community as well,” said Ben Spence, the general manager of the Stroh Center.
The new addition to campus is also the first and only building on campus that has received LEED Gold Certification Waddle said.
“Early on we knew that we wanted the building to be recognized for this (its sustainable features), so we hired the proper contractors and Lead firm to help us take all necessary steps to get certification,” Waddle said.
Although students may not be the happiest about their money is going, there is a no denying that since the facility is here, student really enjoy attending events.
“I am obsessed with the Stroh Center,” Abby Brumme, Junior, Public Relations and Journalism Major. “I’ve attend basketball games, Stroh Clean-Up for dance marathon and few other events.”