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Our View: Questions about Student Activities Center still unanswered

Published: Monday, December 2, 2013

Updated: Monday, December 2, 2013 17:12

There are still no answers from the trustees, administration or athletic department concerning the Football Facility Project/Student Activities Center planned to be built in 2014.

As if there wasn’t enough confusion surrounding the building project, which was renamed the Student Activities Center months ago, the Gameday booklet from Nov. 16 ran an illustration of the new “football facility project” on page 61. 

“A two-level football operations building and 76,000 square-foot practice facility in Liberty Bank Stadium’s north end zone.” The project includes an indoor practice field, A-State’s locker room, a history and heritage showroom, a sport medicine area, a theater style film room, lounge, equipment room as well as a strength and conditioning room.

In the Herald article published Oct. 14, Jeff Hankins, vice president for strategic communication and economic development, said the Student Activity Center project was different than the Football Facility Project and will serve other student activities including the band, cheerleaders and intramurals. What Hankins didn’t say was how the building was redesigned as a Student Activity center.

The vagueness of details surrounding the entire project leave so many questions unanswered, not to mention the continued printing of misleading information concerning the name and focus of the building. If the booklet was printed before the name change, why not help clear the air surrounding the new project by answering some simple questions.

It looks like the same plans proposed last year. How has it changed to fit the needs of a Student Activities Center?  Who will be able to use the building, what areas, and at what times? If the building is designed for students, why is it placed so far away from anything on campus? Why did the administration abandon the private donation route for the complex? Have students voiced a desire for another athletic building?

The new building plans just don’t add up, but the cost for students does. A bait and switch tactic explains how a salesman lures a customer into a store with low prices, and then convinces them to buy a more expensive product. The football facility project lured students and fans in saying it was going to be a building paid by private donations, and it seems as if the board just renamed it and told the students they would be paying for it themselves.

This is not a complaint about the football team having access to a state of the art facility, but it is a complaint about trustees bragging about a privately funded facility for football that they are now charging to the student body.

It is hard to criticize rising tuition rates and not also question new fees, especially for projects many students would consider unnecessary. The board of trustees wouldn’t know that though, because they signed over the debt to the student body without asking the general student body’s opinion. Anyone asking students on campus would quickly find students don’t know what is going on with this building.

The university has been nothing but opaque on a project where transparency should be a standard on student fees. Without this transparency up front, there should be no plans for new student funded buildings.

At this point there is nothing to be done concerning the funding, but it’s the responsibility of every student to ensure they receive the access they’ve been promised.

 

“Our View” is written by the editorial staff. The opinions are not necessarily reflective of the student body, faculty or administration of A-State.

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