The new Davies Center redesign costs
March 8, 2012
Filed under Opinion
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In last week’s issue of The Spectator, an investigative story was published about the new W.R. Davies Center redesign and the costs associated. The cost for redesign at the 35 percent design phase is at least $572,000, which will be absorbed in the $48.8 million project budget.
The redesign came in 2009 when Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich announced the plans in a September University Senate meeting.
Of the total amount, $81,201 was to provide three additional site options that avoid the Council Oak Tree and the rest was to avoided doing construction near the protected zone around the tree.
No taxpayer dollars were used in the budget process, so the entire project is funded by student segregated fees, including the redesign costs.
However, with no formal announcements, no press releases and no transparency, students were left largely in the dark about these numbers.
This is irresponsible on the part of the university. In the grand scheme, maybe $572,000 isn’t much compared to the $48.8 million budget, but students absolutely deserve to know where their money is going.
Students deserve to know regardless of the size of the fee. Considering what the redesign plans actually accomplish, this is especially important.
Members of the eight-person steering committee as well as other university officials were quoted in the article saying the redesign will be better for the building and the university in general. This may be the case, but issues such as zoning involving the Council Oak could easily have been considered in the initial plans and then that $572,000 could be spent better elsewhere.
The editorial board found this excuse discomforting. If the student body had known of the numbers and facts surrounding the project, it wouldn’t be this upsetting. After all, if they kept this information from students, what else could there be? Would this be any different if it were taxpayer dollars and not segregated fee dollars?
Just because it’s a mildly embarrassing mistake doesn’t mean the numbers need to be hidden from the individuals funding the building, especially because this was a mistake in the planning process, something the student body wasn’t largely involved in.
The two students on the steering committee were largely outnumbered while trying to represent the entire student body.
Really, what this comes down to is that university officials are being disrespectful to students at UW-Eau Claire.
This was their mistake, and there have been no formal apologies, no admittance and still no transparency; there has only been deflection.
Administrators should own up and be more transparent to students, because running a university should be a collaboration between faculty, officials and students in order for the system to truly work. None of those parties can be left in the dark.