University Fees Could Rise For New Student Union

University of Nevada, Reno
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Seven out of 10 University of Nevada, Reno students who were surveyed last year said they would be willing to pay higher fees to have a new student union.

It looks like they may get both.

A proposal that's on the table would see fees rise $97 a semester to finance a $46 million center. It could include a game room, a movie theater and a bank.

In two surveys conducted last year, more than 70 percent of students who responded said a new student union is needed and they would be willing to foot the bill.

Some students have complained the current facility often is underuses, but a student government leader said that's because Joy Travis doesn't offer what students are looking for.

"They want a bigger bookstore and retail food service with brand names like Panda Express, Baja Fresh, Starbucks and Jamba Juice so they don't have to go off campus to get quick, healthy food," said Chul Yim, president of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada.

Jessie Muehlberg, president of the Graduate Students Association, said the needs of grad students are different than those of undergrads.

Graduate students tend to work days and attend night classes, so they want child care and facilities that remain open in the evening, Muehlberg said.

"Graduate students need food services at night and extended hours at the bookstore and library," she said. "The university has been responsive to trying to meet some of these needs, but not all our problems have been solved."

The regents are scheduled to vote on whether to increase UNR student fees to finance the project at their meeting next month in Las Vegas.

Increases proposed by Muehlberg and Kim would be $25 a semester for undergraduates taking three credits or less and $94 for those taking four credits or more. Graduate students would pay an additional $49 if they took six credits or less and $97 for seven credits or more.

The increased fees would not take effect until construction begins, which could be late next year and be completed by fall 2007, Yim said.

Built in 1958 when the Reno campus had 2,130 students, the facility now serves more than 15,000 students. Its last renovation in 1996 brought it up to 52,000 square feet, just over a quarter the size of the proposed 190,000-square-foot building.