SRC Fee keeps the lights on and the cold out

Erin McGroarty/Sun Star Reporter
April 24, 2012

The SRC has been open on the UAF campus since 1994. This facility serves as a warm and comfortable place for the Fairbanks inhabitants to go and work out. Erin McGroarty/ Sun Star

During the long and cold winter months, those Fairbanks inhabitants who don’t thrive in the frigid weather by skiing or snowboarding, seek a warmer workout space, the UAF Student Recreation Center. The Student Recreation Center, or SRC, opened on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus in 1994. This facility serves as a place for the students and faculty of UAF, as well as the general public of Fairbanks, to go to exercise.

The first floor of the building contains a climbing wall, a weight room complete with bench presses, barbells and other machinery, and multiple sports courts. The second floor contains a 200-meter, three-lane running and walking track, stationary bicycles, cardio and strength machinery and more weight-lifting machinery.

The public can access this facility by paying a fee for a semester or year-long membership. Each method allows customers to attend the gym whenever they choose.

The student fee is $75 per semester. This fee applies to every student taking nine or more credit hours. However, it only applies to UAF’s on-campus credits. The fee is not charged to students working through the Community and Technical College or distance education. Students who take less than nine credit hours can add the fee to their account manually if they wish to use the facilities on a regular basis. This fee is collected every semester except summer sessions. For family members of students, the fee is $12 per member.

When faculty, staff or the public purchase access memberships, the money goes into the center’s operational budget. This account pays for the salaries of those who work at the center and small equipment costs.

“The money we pull in from non-student membership revenue pays for  jump ropes and basketballs and such. Those costs come out of that account.” SRC Director Erik Ofelt said. “But say, $100,000 to purchase in new life fitness equipment is money that has to be lobbied for from the university.”

In 1991, the students of UAF voted to open a bond funding the construction of the SRC. The student population started paying off the bond in 1995. Student fee revenue goes directly into paying off the bond. However, the building has been refinanced twice since then, once in 1998 and once in 2009. Originally, the bond payments were scheduled to end in 2018. That date has not changed because of the two refinances.

A certain amount of money collected from the student fee goes into paying off the bond each semester.When there is money left over after covering that semester’s bond payment, those funds go into what is called an Renewal and Repair Emergency account managed by Facilities Services and UA Statewide.

“For example, if the roof caved in, Facility Services, which usually pays for maintenance on this building, would not have enough funding to cover the cost.” Ofelt said. “That is when we would dip into this account… luckily it is rarely used.”

According to past years budgets, fiscal year 2011 collected $712,086 from student fees. Of that money, approximately $473,400 went toward bond repayment and approximately $238,700 went into the R & R account. Fiscal year 2010 drew similar revenue from the fee.

Ofelt emphasized that the collected fee funds go directly to paying off the bond first, then the leftover money goes into the R & R account or to purchasing previously requested equipment that would normally be paid for by the operations budget.

“The students don’t pay my salary. They don’t pay anyone’s salary. They pay for the roof over the heads of all of us,” Ofelt said.

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