NDSU Plots Course For Lavish Swimming Facility Funded By Student Fees

“Isn’t this crazy,” a legislator said in an email to me yesterday, linking to this Fargo Forum article about a new aquatics facility to be built at North Dakota State University with student fees. “Starting this fall students will pay for facility that isn’t approved yet, 18% turnout on vote and won’t be done until 2017-18 when all of the students who voted on the proposal will have graduated or at least they should.”

The legislator is referring to the fact that just 18% of eligible student voters actually cast their ballots on the issue of the aquatic center, though 60% of that 18% approved of it.

With students already carrying an increasingly heavy tuition load, and with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new building projects already planned for the state’s campuses, is this really appropriate?

FARGO – North Dakota State University students want to build a new, $11 million swimming facility on campus.

Students would foot the entire bill for the new aquatic center, a facility with competitive and recreational pools to be added to the school’s exercise center in north Fargo, through a staggered $113 increase in annual student fees. …

NDSU students held an election in April to weigh in on the project. Of the 2,400 who voted – about 18 percent of the student body – 60 percent approved of building the swimming pool using student fees.

The results of that vote prove NDSU students are itching for a new swimming facility on campus and are willing to pay for it, Lauf said.

I’m not sure a vote with 18% turnout proves the student body is just itching for more student fees to be added to the cost burden they’re already carrying. If anything, that turnout suggests a disturbing level of student apathy.

But according to Lauf, the student body president at NDSU (probably elected with a similar vote turnout), NDSU deserves the pool because the school is Division I or something:

“For many, many, many years, it’s been a concern that we’re a Division I school, but we don’t have a pool on campus,” said Robbie Lauf, president of the school’s student government.

The state Board of Higher Education will discuss on May 23 the plan for a new facility at NDSU. The board needs to sign off before the project moves ahead.

Just another chapter in the saga of our out-of-control university system.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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