"A student fee isn't the first thing that students are going to want," Jack Wylie, former student government president at Metro State, said. "But, when it's for a good thing like this building will be, when it's going to be that meaningful for the campus, it's a wise investment."
Wylie served as the president of the Student Government Assembly for three years. He pushed for students to approve this measure, which increases student fees over the next 10 years, to address an overcrowding problem at a time when state funding is being cut from public colleges.
"We have students in trailers. We have students that are in the Starz Film Center because we just don't have classroom space. You can't do nothing," Wylie said.
Students are funding a $62 million Student Success Building. The 145,000 square-foot facility will house more classrooms and all student services in one place instead of scattered all around the Auraria Campus.
"Putting student services in one place, having a one-stop-shop, is going to do amazing things. That can't be understated," Wylie said.
Students will see fees rise incrementally over the years. They will pay an additional $5.25 per credit hour in 2010, an additional $12.10 per credit hour in 2011, to $19.80 per credit hour in 2012 and beyond.
"It is one of the larger fees we pay," Sammantha O'Brien, current Student Government Assembly president at Metro State, said. "This is one of the most significant things we can spend our money on and probably the only thing that I would've voted for to increase my student fees."
Metro State President Stephen Jordan says this is a far cry from when the college was put together in a hodge-podge fashion 45 years ago.
"When we were in rented buildings, down on Cherokee Street, all I can say is - We've come a long ways, baby!" Jordan said.
The Auraria Campus is home to Metro State, the University of Colorado Denver and the Community College of Denver. This move is the beginning of a new effort on campus to establish distinct "neighborhoods" for each school on campus.
"It is still essential that each of the institutions maintain, grow and develop their own reputation and their own distinct identities," Tamara Door, member of the Auraria Campus Board, said.
This project is just the beginning. The plans are for a total of six new buildings on the western edge of the Auraria Campus, all for a growing Metro State. The Student Success Building is scheduled to open in 2012.
"This is going to be a physical location that's going to be seen," Wylie said. "It's right across from the Pepsi Center."
O'Brien believes it will help students identify with Metro State.
"Feeling more like a part of a community and wanting to come to school, and maybe staying here a bit longer," O'Brien said.
After all, they are paying for it.
(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)