General Fee allocation to be redistributed

An early rendering of Ohio University’s planned multipurpose center. The facility is planned to break ground in April at the earliest. (Via Ohio Athletics)

More than $800,000 from Ohio University’s General Fee initially dedicated to Ohio’s planned multipurpose center will be allocated for other student use.

Ohio Athletics, which led the facility until Student Affairs took over last semester, had earlier stated groundbreaking for the multipurpose center would take place in January or February. Now, though, the university plans to break ground on the center in April at the earliest.

Ryan Lombardi, vice president for Student Affairs, said the facility’s timetable, which has it opening in December 2013, has been constant since he has been involved with its planning.

As a result of the timeline shift, the three percent of this year’s General Fee dedicated to a “reserve for multipurpose center”  — $822,000 — will be designated for other student use.

“We weren’t sure with the timeline when that happened whether or not it would start this year and we would need it or not,” Lombardi said. “We don’t need it, and the provost and vice president for finance have gone to Student Senate and said, ‘That money is there. It’s student money, and if students have a suggestion for how you want to use that money this year, we’re open to receiving that.’ ”

Zach George, Ohio Student Senate president, said part of the dormant funds were used to finance the Marching 110’s trip to Shreveport, La., during Winter Intersession, where the band performed during the Bobcats’ trip to the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl.

Lombardi said less than $100,000 was allocated for the Marching 110. He added that other ideas about the money’s use are in the works and that George has proposed several options, including a spring concert.

The multipurpose center has been projected to cost $12.5 million, including the approximately $1.5 million track. Annual maintenance for the multipurpose
center is expected to cost about $250,000, according to a previous Post article.

Harry Wyatt, Ohio’s associate vice president for facilities, said the trustees would be shown renderings of the building — which was designed by Moody Nolan, who was also behind the design of Baker Center — at their Feb. 8 meeting in Chillicothe. Officials will address the center’s construction again at the April 19 trustee meeting and plan to break ground that month after obtaining approval from the trustees.

The facility was primarily funded by an $8 million lead gift by Robert and Margaret Walter in December 2010 that will come in at a $1 million per year.

Funds in excess of $3 million pledged by donors through Ohio Athletics’ fundraising campaign will also become available incrementally.

The facility’s foundation was initially in Athletics, but control was moved into the hands of Student Affairs last semester at the urging of President Roderick McDavis.

“The reason he made that decision is to ensure that we make it multipurpose,” Lombardi said.

Lombardi said his campus recreation staff will oversee the multipurpose center but said the hours it will be open to students have yet to be determined.

He said that Ohio Reserve Officer Training Corps will likely use the facility in the early morning and classes will take up much of the remaining morning hours.|

Athletics are expected to occupy the afternoon slots, while club sports, intramurals and Marching 110 could have dedicated time slots in the evening.

Ohio Athletics declined to comment.

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