Campus structures, buildings to expand amid university’s financial concerns

The president of St. Edward’s University, George E. Martin, held his annual meeting to discuss new changes coming to campus in the upcoming years.

The meeting, held in Jones Auditorium on March 8, was attended by campus administration and faculty and focused on the university’s financial situation in recent years. St. Edward’s endowment has reached $110 million dollars after recently facing a recession due to increasing costs, missed enrollment targets and a shrinking college-bound high school population.

Although the endowment has grown, St. Edward’s is a tuition-driven university, meaning that the money used to run the university comes primarily from tuition dollars, a figure that has been affected by a dip in enrollment rates. Martin stressed that the size of the endowment isn’t indicative of financial security.

“This puts us in at a kind of awkward category,” Martin said. “One hundred million dollars is a significant amount of money, particularly for an institute our size, but at the same time, most of the wealth pulled in higher education is decreasing with time.”

Business updates concerning various campus projects were also introduced throughout the course of the meeting. The Pavilions, the student apartment complex that has been under construction since 2017 and has faced several setbacks that have delayed construction, is set to be completed in Fall 2018.

“The Pavilions, the cursed Pavilions, I believe everything that could’ve gone wrong did go wrong,” Martin joked. “We’re very confident that we should be able to have this building done within the year. We’ve made a lot of changes, changes in developers, and I don’t think we need to worry about weather being an interference anymore either.”

In addition to the impending apartment complex, Martin elaborated on the university’s plan for an expansion of the Recreation and Convocation Center, a massive update that will cost $8 million.

“This new building will be a recreation and health wellness center,” Martin said. “It has more than five times the space than what we currently have for exercise and recreation, as well as a beautiful space that will feature a wide outdoor area.”

Martin defended the intensive building plans, which could be perceived as extravagant at a time of financial uncertainty, saying that the university would pay for its construction through fundraising.

“A number of people have asked, ‘How are we paying for this?’ And the way we are doing this is through fundraising and bonds,” Martin said.

The university has used these two methods to pay for new renovations to Holy Cross Hall as well as the $33 million Pavillion apartment complex.

“We are very excited for this, we think it’s going to be important for enrollment and our community’s health,” Martin said. “With this building we are going to be able to save money so that we have sufficient funds for this building, which is an 8 million dollar project.”

St. Edward’s Student Government Organization will be hosting a student social on March 21, in Jones auditorium from 6 – 8 p.m, allowing students to voice their concerns about the Pavilions and other campus issues.