Ohio University’s new multipurpose center might cost an estimated quarter of a million dollars per year for maintenance and utility use after its construction.
The preliminary cost for the facility would be about $250,000 per year to heat the facility at 60 degrees, according to minutes from a March 14 Faculty Senate meeting.
“This is projected to take care of all of the utility costs and all of the normal cleaning, custodial day-to-day work to keep the place up and functioning,” said Dick Planisek, director of facilities planning and space management for OU. “This is a project that is developing, and numbers get refined.”
Margaret and Robert Walter donated $10 million to the university in December for the facility’s creation.
With the projected budget cuts at OU, faculty members are worried about the additional costs the center will add and the strain it could put on students’ tuition and fees, said Joe McLaughlin, chair of Faculty Senate.
“It’s all good that someone gives the university an $8 million gift, but if it is going to cost us a quarter of a million dollars a year, then that money is either going to come from tuition or student fees,” he said. “And then we would have to go out and raise more money.”
McLaughlin said he worries that the university will call the facility a multipurpose center only to use it mainly for indoor football practice and sparingly for other activities.
“It is unclear where that money would come from,” he said. “And that makes me nervous because in the past, Intercollegiate Athletics has spent more money than they had, and they have used the justification that (they) have been asked to do more than (they) have been given the money for.”
Because it is still early in the planning process, the university is not sure where the money would come from to fund the additional costs, said Katie Quaranta, media spokesperson for the university.
“The facility’s construction will not be approved until it is determined where the funds will come from,” she said.
The projected costs for the building are slightly less than the average cost for maintenance and utilities of other buildings on campus, Planisek said.
“This is a very simple building at this point … it’s one big giant room,” he said. “In a typical building where you have got a bunch of classrooms and a bunch of offices, maybe some labs and a bunch of corridors and stairways — the ongoing day-by-day maintenance has the tendency to be more expensive per square foot.”
The per-year cost could fluctuate depending on the usage of the facility, which will be determined by a planning committee, Planisek said.
“I really need to emphasize to everybody that this is preliminary,” he said. “There is a programming group that is investigating what types of activities might go on in this building, and that may result in changes in some of these numbers.”