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Ohio Union’s 2nd birthday all business, no cake

Lantern file photo

The Ohio Union student facility fee brought in $8.5 million during the 2012 fiscal year, funding the annual debt payment of the building, with the remainder being used for building repairs.

Ohio State students pay a $51 fee per quarter, known as the Student Union Facility Fee. This totals $612 from each student during a four-year college career.

March 29 marks the second anniversary of the date the building, which originally cost the university $118.8 million, opened for business.

Dave Wiseley, senior director of business and administrative services for the Ohio Union and Recreational Sports, said Student Life annually pays $7.894 million in principal and interest on the building.

The almost $8.5 million the student facility fee brought in will entirely pay for the annual debt payment on the building. This will consume 93 percent of the student facility fee. The remaining 7 percent will go toward building maintenance, Wiseley said.

“In addition, a portion of the fee is allocated to a building renewal and replacement fund to assure the facility is maintained in adequate condition throughout its life to best support student needs,” Wiseley said. “This can include things like replacing HVAC systems, safety systems, furniture, equipment and technology.”

The Union recently had repairs done on the south side of the roof.

Wiseley said the old Union did not have any funds for repair, so the university is cautious with its maintenance funds.

“One reason the old Ohio Union fell into disrepair is that there was no provision to fund building renewal,” he said.

Wiseley said payment on the bonds for the building will be due for about the next 20 years.

“One bond, for $82 million, will be paid off in 2031,” Wiseley said. “Other debt, totaling $17.3 million, will be paid off in 2029.”

Wiseley said after the debt is paid off, OSU officials will take another look at the fee.

“The fee would definitely be re-evaluated at that point in time,” Wiseley said.

Union representatives decided not to have a second birthday party, Tracy Stuck, assistant vice president for Student Life, told The Lantern. Last year, the Union’s first birthday party, featuring a group hug and Union-replica birthday cake, cost $8,613.22.

Wiseley said the student facility fee does not fund any programs inside the building. He said a majority of the building’s usage goes toward student activities.

“In calendar year 2011, 75 percent of the events in the Ohio Union were student activities or put on by student organizations,” Wiseley said. “Seventeen percent were Ohio State University users, and the remaining 8 percent were put on by outside groups.”

Wiseley said the usage of the building is exactly what officials had planned for it.

“It has proven to be the campus gem we anticipated during construction and planning,” he said.

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