In addition to the proposed 15 percent differential tuition increase, students in fall may see $2 more going to the capital improvement trust fund fee to pay for various library renovations, including added space, seating and the possible installation of an Automated Retrieval System, which would mechanically retrieve books stored in bins for students upon request within 10 minutes.
Regarding the fee being raised, the kneejerk reaction students probably have is to complain, which is understandable. In previous years, the fee has gone toward renovations and additions to non-academic buildings such as the Recreation and Wellness Center, the Career Services Experiential Learning building and the Student Union. Although plans have yet to be finalized, the renovations are projected to cost $64.1 million.
For many who have tried to find a seat or computer in the library during prime study hours, it is obvious why this addition is needed to supplement UCF’s growing population. Although the ARS may seem unnecessary and costly, it is currently being used by several schools across the country. For example, the University of Utah’s Marriott library cleared 80,000 square feet of space after the installation of the system, and the university library’s facilities and collections services manager Ian Godfrey agrees that the system is beneficial as well as cost-efficient.
“It has paid for itself in two ways. If I had billed an addition during construction that could hold two million volumes like this facility can, it would have cost at least 48 million dollars to put book shelving that was spaced in [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliance, so we saved immensely there,” Godfrey told University of Utah’s Newsbreak.
Although renovations are needed and the cost is currently low, the fee, combined with a building fee, may go up to as much as $10.33 by the 2015-2016 academic year, which does seem unfair. The fee should only be raised as needed, not annually, and if substantial renovations are needed at that point for parts of the campus that this will not cover, the money should come from elsewhere, such as private donors, instead of students.
Another consideration to be made is the amount of jobs this renovation would bring to the area, which will stimulate and benefit UCF’s community in a number of ways.
For many, it is obvious that this is a much-needed renovation that a majority of the student body will benefit from. UCF maintains the second largest university population in the country, and to do so costs money. UCF is cutting costs the best way it knows how, but when push comes to shove, there is simply no state or federal funding available, which is why fee increases and a differential tuition hike are necessary, and despite these increases, tuition will still remain among the lowest in the nation. When considering these two statistics, what UCF has managed to achieve, educating many with few dollars, is one to be proud of.