An estimated $983,038 will need to be found in order to complete construction of the new student union building, according to a presentation to the Student Body Association Senate by Acting Vice President for Administrative Services Stuart Trippel and Director of Budget and Purchasing Holly Woodmansee. This shortfall is estimated from the difference between the total income generated so far through student fees and state bonds, and the total estimated costs to date plus an expected $250,000 in additional labor due to construction delays that will move the opening of the new building from the beginning of Fall Quarter to the end of October.
Unless the money is found, parts of the building may have to be “roughed in” for later completion, leaving some rooms unfinished and uninhabitable. Trippel hopes that this option can be avoided because bringing a construction crew back after it has left is even more costly.
Student fees raised about $2.2 million dollars to cover mostly pre-construction costs, such as pre-design, design, permitting, and engineering costs, according to Trippel and Woodmansee. An additional $15 million was raised through a Certificate of Participation approved by the state legislature, which generates revenue by selling state bonds to the public.
The total budget for construction includes a built-in contingency to serve as a buffer for cost overruns. According to Woodmansee, there is still over $341,000 left in the contingency fund, although as construction progresses that amount is expected to dwindle. Anything left over when the project wraps up will help defer the cost overrun.
Much of the money from the Certificate of Participation sits unspent in a bank account, accruing interest, said Woodmansee and Trippel. They expect that they will have made about $300,000 in interest by the end of the project, which will also alleviate some of the projected shortfall.
When construction is nearer to completion, Woodmansee will have a better idea how much will be saved from unused contingency money and interest, and discussions will take place between the school and the SBA Government over how to pay for the rest of the construction.
“We need more student input,” Trippel said.
The Certificate of Participation creates another, separate budget problem for the SBA. It is to be paid back at a rate of $1.2 million a year: $786,000 by students from fees, and another $414,000 by the school.
Because Shoreline Community College’s enrollment has been low, so have collections from student fees. This year, the SBA government fell short of $786,000 from student fees relating to construction. In order to make up the difference this year, the SBA Government may have to put to use some contingency money. With no guarantee of improved enrollments in the future, however, they may have to ask the student body for additional fees in an upcoming election.
Adding to the student government’s woes are retention issues in key financial positions. Treasurer Suhendra Lie resigned on Feb. 14, and currently holds the position on an interim basis until a new treasurer is hired. The treasurer also serves as the chair of the Budget & Finance Committee. The departure of Michael Donnellan from the senate on Jan. 10 left a vacancy on the Budget & Finance committee throughout most of January and February. His replacement, Thomas Draxler, just took office on Feb. 28.
Losing Lie and Donnellan means that their replacements will need to catch up quickly on some complex financial issues, not least of all those relating to the construction project, which even veteran members of the government are still trying to understand.
“There are still things we’re trying to figure out,” SBA President Matt Fitzsimmons said.
The idea for a renovation of the old Pagoda Union Building goes back twenty years. Students first voted in 1987 to “allocate $38,000 out of existing student fees revenue for remodeling the PUB.” Plans were to create a new office for the SBA, a new ticket office, and remodel the existing offices.
In 1991 students voted to set aside 3 percent of the Student Services & Activities Fees as a “minimal building fund to remodel the PUB that may need to accumulate for 20 or more years.” This was selected over two more aggressive funding options and one measure not to fund a renovation. At that time, the PUB remodel was advertised to include a new quiet lounge, an espresso café, a large outdoor courtyard for concerts between the PUB and FOSS buildings, increased meeting rooms for clubs, larger restrooms, a video lounge, a music lounge, a print room for preparing promotional posters, a video arcade, a game room, and improved access between the PUB and FOSS buildings.
According to Jamie Ardeña in Student Programs, students defeated a third increase in fees in 1993.
The Board of Trustees approved the allocation of additional SS&A Fees to the project in 1999 to bring the total reserved for the PUB up to 7.6 percent. That same year, an election approved the creation of a separate PUB Renovation Fee that assessed students $3 per credit up to 10 credits. At that time, the renovation was characterized much the same way as in 1991, including the outdoor courtyard, game rooms, and an office for the Ebbtide. One early concept design published in the Ebbtide showed a sky-bridge connecting the PUB and the FOSS buildings.
Some money was used before the old PUB was torn down to improve lighting in the PUB, to build the Multicultural Center, and to construct the disabled access elevator in the FOSS Building.
Due to design and budget constraints, some of these elements have been excluded from the final design. There will be no permanent espresso café, though a vendor will be able to bring a freestanding cart indoors. There will be no outdoor plaza or sky-bridge between the new structure and FOSS, and plans to buy new furniture for the building have been scrapped.
This Spring Quarter, students will get to vote on a new name for the PUB, which will include the Path of Diversity (POD), the Shoreline Student Union Building (SSUB), the Ken LaFountaine Union Building (KLUB), or keeping the original Pagoda Union Building.