BY VALENTINA CAVAL
SC Editor in Chief
The Keystone Building, a building intended to replace the current University Center and the Keystone Room, is expected to be completed by January 2016. The cost is projected at over $110 million.
The financing of Phase I of the Keystone Building—an approximately $75 million project—consists of two major components, an auxiliary component and an operational component.
The operation component is approximately $36 million during Phase I. It will focus mostly on information technology. It is one hundred percent funded by Commonwealth Capital Funds.
The initial plans for the Keystone Building were submitted to the state for funding in 2009. The capital funds set for the Keystone Building cannot be transferred anywhere else.
The operational component is to replace the student union building.
Over the past few years, changes have been made to keep the current student union building operational.
“When we built that building, we did not have anywhere close to 6,000 students,” said Vice President of Financing, Kenneth Long. “That building was built with a demand of about 3,500 students.”
The auxiliary component is financed about fifty percent through Dining Services, and the other half is through student union fees.
ESU students voted in 2010 to increase the student union fees to a maximum of $110 a semester in debt service fees. The current fee for debt services is $58 a semester. The debt service fees do not start until a year after the building is already in place.
“At least nine of the union buildings in the state system are all funded through debt,” said Long. “The state only gives us money for the academics.”
According to Long, money will also be put aside in unrestricted reserves for reparations that the building might require in the future. “We wouldn’t be in this situation at all if we stuck enough away before,” said Long, speaking about ESU’s current financial situation.
Long spoke of the enrollment problems ESU is currently facing. The university has faced a 14 percent enrollment decrease in the last five years.
According to Long, the first thing most incoming students do is visit the campus.
“A student union building is the heart of the campus,” said Long. “I am one hundred percent convinced that the Keystone Building is a necessity.”
“With the retention and the recruitment of students that building is a big piece,” said Brenda Friday.
Email Valentina at: