Students Will Vote on $22 Sports Facilities Fee in Spring

    Brian Yip/UCSD Guardian

    A fee referendum of $22 to maintain student recreation facilities, such as the Canyonview swimming pool and two jacuzzis, was approved at the Feb. 23 A.S. Council meeting for Spring Quarter’s all-campus election.

    If students pass, the measure — proposed by Sports Facility Advisory Board — will take effect Fall Quarter 2013 to renew the 1981 student recreation facilities’ $12 fee that lasted 30 years.

    The fee would continue funding the construction, maintenance and operation of the pool, two Jacuzzis, five racquetball and handball courts, and a shower and locker room located north of the Warren West Field, as well as night lighting on the Muir Field.

    If passed, $6.38 of the collected fees, or 29 percent, will go back to financial aid.

    The proposed fee increase will not be added to the current RIMAC activity fee of $92 per quarter, but act as a line-item agenda for separate expenses. The fee proposal is partially in response to the Return-to-Aid financial policy that was not included in the original referendum.

    According to Campuswide Senator Anish Bhayani, the proposed fee increase is also due to inflation the last 30 years.

    “To follow the numbers exactly, inflation from 1981 to now would result in a higher fee than $15.62, but since the debt for the construction of these sports facilities has been paid off, the fee is reduced to maintenance, operations and improvement,” Bhayani said.

    According to Sports Facilities Planning and Management Director Donald Chadwick, the $22 fee is determined by three factors: the Canyonview Aquatic Center’s current operating expenses, enrollment projections and the return-to-aid fraction.

    The $22 increase will generate around $1.8 million per year for operations and maintenance, including the three quarters and summer sessions. That figure assumes about 26,938 students for the academic year — including undergraduates, graduates and students at UCSD School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy — and 10,080 students during the summer sessions.

    The $1.3 million of expenses for maintaining the Canyonview facility includes $294,743 for staff salaries, $34,895 for the weight room and $825,730 for maintenance and operations. There is also $25,000 for temporary funds and capital equipment and a reserve contribution of $126,000.

    “I also see benefit in this fee,” Bhayani said. “Much more money will be flowing into financial aid because of this new fee, which will assist those who are struggling to make all their payments. The actual fee is not increasing by much, only accounting for inflation.”

    Bhayani said that if the referendum is not passed, sport teams and the aquatics department would suffer the most due to increased enrollment. He said the facilities would be increasingly unavailable for practice use.

    “Although the debt service for the complex is retired, operational costs remain a continuing cost that rises with inflation,” Chadwick said. “There is not another mechanism in place to pay for these services so, unless the fee is continued, the complex will cease to receive these funds in 2013, and the services as we know them will be discontinued.”

    The Sports Facilities Advisory Board charter must be approved before implementing the referendum to a student vote by A.S. Council, GSA, Vice Chancellor Penny Rue, Chancellor Marye Anne Fox and the UC Office of the President.

    If GSA passes the proposed fee increase on March 7, the all-campus student election during Spring Quarter will determine if the referendum is passed.

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