Half of the $30 million plus projected budget is planned for new construction & remodel of residence halls. I'm not sure how having a deluxe dorm room "develops lives of purpose" or "life skills." Especially since current enrollment does not fill the rooms we have.
Response: The issue is not “deluxe” residence hall rooms or numbers of students in residence. The issue is breaking water and sewage pipes, an over abundance of mice, inadequate ventilation resulting in mold and peeling ceilings and inconsistent heat.
$1.7 million is planned to enhance the Athletic Department facilities -- isn't the new Recreation Center supposed to provide "social and recreational" opportunity for all students -- not just the athletes?
Response: The statement is absolutely correct. The Recreation Center is for the entire student body. That means that the less time spent in that facility by athletics teams creates more time for all students, faculty and staff. The turf project as well as other facility improvements would enable us to provide other areas for athletics and free up more time in the Recreation Center for other student activities.
It is my opinion, that the smallest amount budgeted ($32,500) is the most important -- bringing speakers to the university to open students' minds and "extend the learning in the core curriculum." This budgeted amount should be increased significantly. Bringing notable speakers to campus would not only benefit the students, but enhance the academic reputation of Upper Iowa University!
Response: We totally agree and believe we should bring major speakers to campus, but we are in need of faculty / staff support to help us boost attendance at these events. We want to insure that our money is being well spent, so required class attendance and / or extra credit points would assist us in that effort. Currently, when we bring speakers to campus, the only students in attendance are those required by clubs and organizations. Having a new university center with appropriate venues to host speakers and other events to campus would also help boost interest and attendance. We would also encourage the university to investigate how other private schools handle convocations and other campus event requirements.
I find it interesting that the most pressing need of the athletics program is not even mentioned in the wish list presented for the Department of Athletics. I believe that what athletics needs more than anything is another gym floor. Currently in the winter, up to four different teams may be competing for use of the gym at the same time: men's and women's basketball, baseball, and softball. Having only one gym floor for them to use results in practices occurring early in the morning or late at night, neither of which is conducive to students being alert in an 8:00 a.m. class. I would think this would be the number one priority for this area of the strategic plan.