SGA contemplates new library project funding

Austin Ramsey || The News

Austin Ramsey || The News

Meghann Anderson
Staff writer

Five blueprints lined the front of the Barkley Room in the Curris Center Wednesday as the Student Government Association discussed plans for a new library.

A new student fee may be added to help pay for the debt incurred from the bonds for the library project. For the fee to be added, it would have to be approved by students, the Board of Regents and the Council on Postsecondary Education.

The SGA Senate will decide next week if it wants to present the idea to the students for voting.

“Thinking of a 20-year bond, (the fee) would be $140 per semester, per student,” Liz Harris, executive treasurer for SGA, said. “Tuition is going to go up regardless if the plan gets approved or not.”

Harris said there are three ways to raise money for the new library: money given to the University through donation, application for state aid or the addition of a student fee.

One-fourth of the student body must vote in support of the proposal to raise student fees for the plan to continue in the procedure of approval.

“I want students to know that SGA is not making the final decision,” Jeremiah Johnson, SGA president, said.

Johnson said once the library is paid off, the fee, if approved, would be removed from the students’ bills, unlike the fee used for the upkeep of the Susan E. Bauernfeind Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

The new library will have four floors housing offices, study rooms, a small coffee shop as well as all of the books, special collections, genealogy and the University archives.

The library is being considered a student building in order to get funding from the state.

The estimated cost of the library is $62 million and construction for the library is expected to begin sometime between 2012 and 2014.

Mark Welch, director of community relations, said students should look at the project in the long term.

“I believe most students don’t end their relationship with Murray State when they get their diploma at Commencement,” Welch said. “I hope our students will understand that this proposed library will be a legacy they can pass on to future generations – perhaps even their children and grandchildren will benefit from their investment.”

Adam Murray, dean of university libraries, wrote in a statement that Murray State needs a new library based on observations of use.

The door counts for the 2009-10 school year were 490,388 people.

“It’s not necessarily how many people are going and sitting and using the library to study,” Betsy Banks, vice president of SGA, said. “We need more space to study and we need some updating.”

The document also stated if students decide not to push forward with the new fee in support of the library then the University libraries would continue to accommodate the needs of the students, faculty and staff.

“This is not the final design proposal,” Josh Jacobs, chief of staff, said. “The idea is to somehow capture the needs of what needs to be in a library.”

Contact Anderson