ESU Hopes That New University Center Will Lead to Higher Retention Rates:
Plans to Rebuild and Renovate are Set in Motion

Photo Credit / The Stroud Courier Photo Archive Plans to tear down the current University Center and rebuild have been set in motion. Photo Credit / The Stroud Courier Photo Archive
Plans to tear down the current University Center and rebuild have been set in motion.

By Charlese Freeman
Student Life Editor

“Why fix a car if your income is down a little bit? Why? Because you need it?” said ESU’s Vice President of Administration & Finance Kenneth Long.

He believes this idea also holds true in regards to ESU’s recent rebranding and renovations.

Revenue for ESU is currently less than their expenses.

As Ken Long discussed some financial difficulties and some possible solutions, he also answered some questions that students had about ESU’s futures plans.

Long said that ESU needs to continue attracting both students and faculty to the university when asked why ESU would spend money on rebranding and renovating despite financial issues.

Although students love the new residence hall, Sycamore Suites, many have questioned why it was built at all.

“The suites were occupied at one-hundred percent, meaning we can’t get any more students in there, we also knew that all our older buildings were in much need of repair and upgrades. When you have all your buildings one-hundred percent occupied, you can’t take one offline to renovate it,” said Long.

Aside from there being a high demand for the suites, in order to renovate Lenape Hall, ESU needed a place to house Lenape’s residence.

“Having an outdated faculty does not help the retention rates. Improving the quality of our facilities makes it easier for students to feel comfortable and learn,” said Long.

He also talked about the future rebuilding of the Student Union building.

The Center for Hospitality Management would be torn down and a new University Center would be built there.

There were also plans to build a new library, but those were changed.

Instead, the funds allocated for this project will be put towards renovating the Kemp Library and other buildings on campus.

“This is an outdated building. It would cost more to build on top of it rather than fixing the entire building itself,” said Long about the current University Center.

Long turned his focus toward this student-oriented building because he values the student’s thoughts and opinions.

He suggested higher education has to be treated like a business such as Nike or any other big brands.

It is important to keep the school attractive to provide the best educational experience.

Long assures that these financial difficulties will not have any direct effects on the cost of tuition.

Although ESU is making an investment in improving the atmosphere of the campus, Long highlights based on the university’s budget chart, that most of the budget is spent on compensations/personnel, not utilities.

Because the university spends the most money in this area, it’s crucial to understand that cutting the spending in this area does not necessarily mean laying off faculty, but filling positions where the demand is required.

According to ESU’s Educational and General Budget chart, for the 2018/19 school year ESU is estimated to spend about eighty million dollars in personnel.

To control the personnel cost Long says that a number of things can be done such as questioning do we need fill certain positions that became vacant?

“If you have a leak in your home and you’re struggling, you may say why replace the whole roof, but you don’t say why fix the leak. You have to fix the leak. We’re not repairing the roof on things, we’re fixing the leak,” said Long.

ESU is slowly trying to improve the atmosphere of the campus.

Tackling some of these issues may not be easy; however, maintaining enrollment is a major factor.

Unlike other PASSHE schools, ESU has not had to resort to getting rid of a number of faculty, but the institution is focused on making smarter and more efficient decisions according to Long.

For ESU to recruit students, it has to compete with many other school.

Within the 13 other state schools similar to ESU, Long says that it is the allure of the campus that allows students to make their final decision of whether they want to attend, or continue to attend ESU.

Email Charlese at:
cfreeman2@live.esu.edu

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