Members of the Recreation Board are heard during Thursday night's budget meeting. (James Bradbury/CU Independent)
Members of the Recreation Board are heard during Thursday night's budget meeting. (James Bradbury/CU Independent)

Rec Center gets big budget, here’s why

Student representatives left their two-day marathon, annual budget session hours after the Buffs took down the No. 19 Ducks Thursday night.

After all of the other students had departed University Memorial Center for the evening and shouts of elated basketball fans were heard outside, student representatives remained in room 247 until the budget was complete.

The CU Student Recreation Center secured $7,384,484 in student-fee funding for the upcoming fiscal year. The total is nearly $3 million more than usual and will be come directly from an increase in student fees that students voted for in the spring of 2011.

Members of the Recreation Board are heard during Thursday night's budget meeting. (James Bradbury/CU Independent)
Members of the Recreation Board are heard during Thursday night’s budget meeting. (James Bradbury/CU Independent)

The monumental increase, which will pay for a completely renovated Rec Center possibly including rooftop tennis courts, was approved by 70.5 percent of the student body.

When they approved the renovations two years ago, students also accepted an increase in their student fees of $121-125 per semester.

Favorable interest rates have allowed that original estimate to be lowered to $103-105 per semester, Recreation Board said Thursday night. The added fee is still slated to begin next spring.

“The whole thing is: if you don’t get to enjoy it, you shouldn’t be paying for it,” Nan Lu, associate director for business and finance at the Rec Center said after the meeting.

Student government officially approved $2,915,729 for new facilities Thursday night. In a seperate motion, the Rec Center was granted $4,468,755 more for a longstanding bond payment that Lu considers the center’s “old” number.

“Technically, this year we have two budgets,” Lu said. “In 2013 and ‘14 we actually have an overlap, we’ll be paying the last payment on our old bond and we’ll be paying the new payment on the new bond.”

The “old” bond, which is usually the Rec Center’s only request for student fee money, has been pretty consistent since the late 1980s, Lu said. That was the last time the Rec Center underwent expansion.

The “old” bond will be paid off by the end of the next fiscal year, the summer of 2014, in a final payment that is $307,106 less than last year because of refinancing.

“Part of reason we can do the new construction is because the old bond is up,” Lu said.

The other reason, she said, is because of popular student opinion.

“The real reason we can do this new construction is because the students support it,” Lu said. “Students feel the same way we do, that the facility is just too old.”

Engineering Co-Sen. Daniel Hansen was persistent in his view that the adopted budget is not “fiscally responsible” for overlooking possible cost savings as resourceful as he would hope and voted “no” on the funding package in the wee minutes of Friday morning.

Despite calling the budget unsatisfactory, however, Hansen said he wanted the bill to pass and supports, in particular,  the Rec Center funding.

“Seventy percent of students use the Rec Center every week,” Hansen said after the meeting. “They’re the ones who voted for this in the first place.”

Check back for further details and analysis of CU Student Government’s 2013-14 budget in coming days.

Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Alison Noon at Alison.noon@colorado.edu.

About Alison Noon

Alison is a senior at University of Colorado Boulder studying journalism and political science. She likes to run around outdoors when there's time.

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