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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Trustees approve increasing fee for Reitz Union renovations

UF’s Board of Trustees has approved a $2 per credit hour increase to the Capital Improvement Trust Fund fee that will help fund renovations to the Reitz Union.

In March, the board approved the $50 million expansion of the student union, to be financed through bonds, and a $25 million renovation, $20 million of which would be funded by the Capital Improvement Trust Fund.

Although the fund was initially expected to yield $20 million, the Board of Governors recently let UF know the available amount in the fund was only $4.9 million.

To make up the difference, trustees voted Monday to adjust the CITF fee by $2, increasing the fee from $4.76 to $6.76 per credit hour. This is the first time the fee has been adjusted in 30 years.

Student Body President Tj Villamil said the 5,000 signatures of support for the proposed expansion from students, as well as the support of about 60 student organizations that use the Reitz Union, show the project is a high priority.

“This is something that students really did want, and it’s got to be done right,” Villamil said.

He noted that raising the CITF fee is in keeping with the board’s promise to not create new fees to fund renovations to the Reitz Union.

Graduate assistants and graduate students with associate appointments will not have to pay the fee.

Money from the CITF fee is collected from state universities and released by the Board of Governors every three to five years, depending on the needs of the universities.

Kratzer said he was surprised the trust fund fell so short this cycle.

“All along when I proposed this, I didn’t think we’d have to do this,” he said.

UF needs the full $20 million to be able to complete the renovations all at once. Although projects on campus are usually completed in multiple phases, he said, it would be more efficient to finish the project in one phase because the building is used year-round for a variety of purposes, unlike most classroom buildings.

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Otherwise, he said, “You’re actually paying for that twice.”

Contact Erin Jester at ejester@alligator.org.

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