University needed to find other funds for Woodbine

Our View

Our View

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The Issue: $450,000 in tuition used to renovate Woodbine Cottage.

Our View: University should have sought out other funding for the project.

The $450,000 that the university threw down for Woodbine Cottage renovations apparently trumped other needed repairs and maintenance on campus.

The university has $1.8 million this year to fix a laundry list of $9.2 million in on-campus repairs.

Twenty percent of student tuition dollars bankrolls the Higher Education Facilities Fund, which was used for the improvements.

Instead of using the money to renovate a classroom or repair a roof on an academic building, which is what it is supposed to be used for, the university spent it on costly historical renovations at Woodbine.

In the past, the university has used other funds to pay for Woodbine’s maintenance and repairs, because it’s a non-academic building.

But Excecutive Vice President Reger said the home was in need of immediate repair.

“The siding was rotting, it needed insulation and the windows wouldn’t open,” he said in an article in this week’s Collegian.

We don’t doubt Woodbine needed the renovations. We just wish the university would sought out historical grants or alumni dollars instead of using money normally reserved for classroom buildings.

“We’ve always tried to repair Woodbine by using other university funds. (In this case) We don’t have any other choice,” Reger said.

Woodbine, which was built in 1887, is on the National Register of Historic Places. The work being done on Woodbine, though it seems extravagant, is actually necessary to preserve the historical integrity of the home.

The general contractor, Clark Drew Construction Company, has hired someone to specially cut the cedar for the sidings. Tools to work on certain parts of the home have been custom made, and the windows will be completely renovated back to the originals.

“Unlike any other project, with a historical project you can’t simply go down to the local lumber yard,” said James Drew, the project manager of Woodbine for Clark Drew Construction Company.

We commend the university’s effort to preserve an old building instead of tearing it down, despite the cost.

We need old buildings to help us honor the past.

But we also need money to repair existing classroom buildings.

The reason Woodbine was left off the list to receive money from the fund was because it was a non-academic building.

It was wrong for the university to divert the money from this fund to projects that don’t directly benefit us. After all, they are spending our tuition dollars.