Matt Sokoloff found an error in MU fees that will save students more than $2.1 million.
In 2001, students voted to implement a $75-per-semester fee that would pay to update the campus recreational facilities to include more fitness and aquatic space, locker rooms and air conditioning. The plan is to combine Brewer Fieldhouse, the current student recreational center, with Rothwell Gymnasium.
Sokoloff, the Missouri Students Association’s Student Fee Review Committee chairman, said a student fee increase to pay for the Brewer Project, which was set to go into effect when the recreational facility was complete, was mistakenly set to begin this fall. The center is supposed to be completed in May 2005.
If the fee had been implemented at the start of the fall semester, the $75 charge would have gone toward paying construction loans for the Brewer Project and would have affected faculty and staff as well as students. The construction of the new facility will cost about $50 million and the fee is expected to remain for 30 years.
Rich Anderson, the fiscal officer for student affairs, said that the charge was not an error as much as it was a result of delays. Rainy, cold weather caused construction setbacks in the early stages. Unexpected problems related to working with older buildings also caused delays. Rothwell Gymnasium was built in 1906 and Brewer Fieldhouse was built in 1929.
He said the fees were submitted to the University of Missouri Board of Curators in January, so the paperwork had to be completed in September or October of 2003.
“We decided to delay fee implementation,” Anderson said. “It was more of a case of having to determine the fee earlier than the time we needed to make the right decision.”
When Sokoloff noticed the inconsistency between the charge and the original agreement, he contacted Anderson. They met with Jeff Salinga, who oversees the recreational facility, and Cathy Scroggs, vice chancellor for student affairs. The four determined that the fee would not go into effect until the start of winter semester in 2005, Sokoloff said.
Even though the project will not be completed by January 2005, Anderson said the center will be usable then. The swimming areas, the final portion of the project, are expected to be finished in May 2005.