State could help fund new Cultural Center, campus maintenance

By on February 14, 2018

By Briana Linney —

Cultural Center to be razed

Interim President Greg Postel told the SGA Senate the Cultural Center is so dilapidated it needs to be replaced. He addressed rumors it could be relocated at the Feb. 13 meeting.

“The Cultural Center is in a building that basically should be condemned,” Postel said.

Postel brought in engineers to inspect it for renovations. The engineers recommended building a new structure because it is is beyond repair.

U of L Spokesperson John Karman said nothing is imminent at this time and plans are being developed to raze the building.

“After the building is razed at some time in the future, the plans call for establishing temporary offices in Strickler Hall,” Karman said.

Karman said plans call for a new Cultural Center to be built on the site of the old one. He reiterated no timetable has been established yet.

Postel says tuition could increase

Postel said after recent budget cuts, students could be in for a possible three percent tuition increase in the coming year.

He said although state appropriations are declining, the university’s desire to increase quality has not.

“We are winning in terms of keeping the student’s tuition down,” Postel said. “But we are losing the war in terms of our ability to grow.”

Postel said he wishes to insulate students from budgetary problems as much as possible.

State could kick in for maintenance

Postel also said he’s hoping the state can help chip away at the $600 million in deferred maintenance across campus. A program in Governor Matt Bevin’s proposed 2018-19 budget could potentially finance those renovations.

Over the next two years, the state could provide an additional $50 million if U of L spends or raises $63 million for that purpose.

But Postel said renovations to heating systems and sewer pipes are not appealing to donors, presenting a challenge to raising money. Still, he is optimistic the university can raise the $63 million.

U of L budget still a work in progress 

“We are in the midst of a really challenging process putting together a budget for the University of Louisville, and it’s a hard project because we have a lot of moving parts within the university,” Postel said.

The general funds budget consists of $132 million in annual state funds and student tuition dollars.

The non-general funds are income from clinical practice of medicine, extramural funding and contracts with outside entities like University Hospital.

Postel said U of L is a $3 billion-a-year organization. Of that $3 billion, $1.3 million is the actual U of L budget.  

In 1998, the state put in place a house bill that mandated U of L work to become a premier metropolitan research university.

With that, lawmakers asked for enhanced research programs, clinical missions and education missions, in turn promising to increase state funding. That happened for the first 10 years and the university thrived.

Since 2008 support from the state began dropping. The proposed funding in 2018 is right back to where it was 20 years ago when the mandate became effective.

Note: It was initially reported that Postel promised not to raise tuition. University Spokesperson John Karman said Postel did not make this promise. We regret the error.


File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal

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