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UCC Legacy Fee Approved for the Construction of the Allied Health and Science Building

Ginger Johnson / Mainstream
This graph displays a representation of the new Legacy fee of $7 per credit for two years and then $8 per credit for the following three years. The fee’s purpose will be to aid in additions and renovations to the college campus.

A new student fee of $7 per credit has been approved by the UCC school board as of Oct. 8, at this month’s board meeting. This fee will start next summer term and continue for the next two years. Based on information from a student open forum at UCC’s library Oct. 3, this fee will be raised to $8 per credit for the next three years. After a total of five years, the legacy fee will be reevaluated and will either remain the same, be raised or lowered.
“The other caveat that they put in when they adopted the fee was that if we should happen to raise more money than we are anticipating . . . then that will trigger a review of the legacy fee as well to see whether or not we can lower that fee,” Rebecca Redell, UCC’s chief financing officer, said.
At the open forum, Redell also explained why the college waited until now to implement the legacy fee.
“Because of the last fee increase, fees were asked to be put on hold for the 2014-15 school year,” Redell explained.
Redell acknowledged the difficulties that students have in supplying the funds to attend school She claimed to have “looked under every rock looking for the funds needed to match the grant.”
The purpose for this fee is two-fold. First, it will assist in the financing of a new building named the Allied Health and Science Building. Secondly, a self-sustaining fund will be created which will be used to renovate other buildings on UCC’s aging campus.
The Allied Health and Science Building will house the science, nursing and dental programs. This construction project is being partially funded by an $8.5 million Oregon state Article XI-G bond for capital funding projects. This grant will help colleges to modernize their campuses. The only condition is that UCC must provide matching funds by February 2015.
In order to have the funds available for deposit before the deadline, UCC has applied for a bond covering the entire $8.5 million. According to Dennis O’Neill, UCC Foundation executive director, the purchased bond is a “20 year note; we expect to pay it back in 15 years.” The bond will then be paid off by using donations as they arrive and by using the money obtained from the legacy fee.
UCC has made progress towards obtaining the needed funds and will be finished with the main fundraising this November.
Starting last July, approximately $4 million has been raised through gifts and donations by both individuals and organizations. The manner that the money is received largely depends on the donor. The donation could be a single deposit or could arrive in installments over the years of the bond.
Redell has stated that she expects we will receive $5.5 million dollars in donations and pledges by the end of the year. This leaves $3 million dollars left in order to match the grant. The legacy fee is designed to bridge this gap.
The bond purchased to match the $8.5 million grant is split into two different kinds of bonds. “We have one that is set up as a 10 year bond,” Redell said. This bond will be paid off using the $5.5 million obtained through fundraising.
“That one should be paid off in 5 years, but if we didn’t raise the $5.5 million we were planning on we actually do have 10 years to pay,” Redell said. The last $3 million needed to complete the total of $8.5 million will be a 20 year bond.
According to O’Neill, UCC has tried to obtain the funds needed to match the grant through a sale of public bonds but was rejected twice. The administration determined the only alternative was a legacy fee.
While the plans for the new building are in the end stages of design, some details are not completely decided yet.
A group will be meeting called the Steering Committee made up of faculty from several different departments as well as a couple of community members with a vested interest in the development of the new building project. They will meet with several architects from around the state Oct. 27 or 28 to finalize the plans for the Allied Health and Science Building.
Although the architectural details are not completely fixed, a few things are reasonably certain. First, it will be located between the PE complex and the amphitheater with a bridge connecting the Allied Health and Science Building to Whipple Fine Arts facility.
The new building will have of a total of 36,000 square feet and will be two stories tall with windows along the face of the building. On the first floor, there will also be a space for students to congregate and study.
While planning, the design team is keeping some of the students’ needs in mind; “I know they are leaving space for vending machines as well,” Redell said.
“Students don’t have to go all the way across campus to get food.”
The first floor will be devoted to the nursing and dental programs with two extensive laboratories for the students’ use. In addition, there will also be a legal medical resolution classroom to teach students how to practice interacting with lawyers and arbitrators.
The second floor will be devoted to the science programs. There will be approximately three to four classrooms and labs.
Both floors will have nine to ten faculty offices, two restrooms and two staircases accessing the second floor with a skylight that will be visible from both floors of the building.
During the last summer, a task force called the Student Fee Task Force was formed. According to Kristapher Yates, ASUCC president, their main objective “was to take a look at current student fees, what they are really used for, where the account balances sit, and if they can possibly be combined, decreased or used in different ways to benefit the students.”
“There wasn’t any that we could eliminate; they all kind of had their designated places they needed to be,” Yates said.
In addition, the task force completed research into UCC’s total costs, including student fees and their comparison to the other community colleges in Oregon, specifically the colleges located in similar demographic regions to UCC.
Yates’ conclusion was that even with the additional legacy fee, UCC will still remain one of the least costly in terms of tuition and fees when compared to Oregon community colleges in similar rural regions.
The cost for online courses are an important factor when comparing the cost between UCC and other community colleges, with UCC being significantly cheaper than the other nearby colleges.
The information used to create these comparisons was obtained by various task force members.
“I went and found it individually by each school. I either found it on their website, downloaded their course catalogs and/or I called the schools and talked to either admissions or the student life representatives,” Yates said.
In response to suggestions made by task force member Yates, a student open forum was held; “The administration wanted to vote on the legacy fee during September’s board meeting. But I convinced them to delay one month in order to give the students a voice on the fee.”
Some concern was expressed that the new fee was voted on before students had a chance to get into school routines. “I am not sure, but I think it has to do with being able to purchase the bonds before the deadline,” Yates said.
The main purpose of the open forum was to inform the students about the new fee being proposed, why it was needed and to obtain feedback concerning what students felt about the new fee. At the student open forum, one of the most strongly voiced opinions was that $8 was too large of an amount, especially all at once.
A compilation of comments made by some of the other students was collected by Yates and presented within the Student Fee Task Force Report at the Oct. 8 board meeting.
For more information about the statistics collected for the Student Fee Task Force Report, contact Kristapher Yates, ASUCC President.
One of UCC’s current students, Leanna Chapman, acknowledged that “to add a fee per credit is not my first choice, but I am all for the new building that will be built . . . . I would hope that they expand the building into other fields and put it to use for the students.” Chapman’s only concern was whether the new fee would be used correctly and not for other purposes. Chapman also expressed that she would feel better if she knew that the funds raised were being used to benefit the students.
How would she like to see this accomplished? “It would be beneficial to involve the students somehow in the decision making process,” she said. One possibility Chapman discussed was to give the students an opportunity to voice their opinion on the renovations through an open forum for students.
She also voiced relief when asked about the amount per credit for the new fee; “I’m just glad the fee is not $10 per credit; some of the other student fees are kind of large.”
As suggested by the legacy fee’s name, the money is meant to bring benefit to those who attend UCC in the future. Although those giving a portion of their money will not necessarily be given a direct benefit, this fee may potentially affect those to follow by providing modernized technology to future students.
The next phase in the construction of the Allied Health and Science Building is scheduled to begin this upcoming year once the school obtains the Article XI-G bond, with ground breaking starting in March. “The tentative completion date is May 2016. We are planning on occupancy that fall,” Redell said.
For further information on the Capital Funding project and its economic impact on UCC and the surrounding area, go to www.umpqua.edu/hns-center-campaign.