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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Weight room plans in final stages

Published: August 29, 2008
Section: Front Page

Student Union President Jason Gray ’10 dismissed rumors that the Union lacked sufficient funding to refurbish the weight room in Gosman.

That the Union had only $50,000 rather than $100,000 available for the project is untrue, Gray stated.

“It’s just a rumor,” Gray said.

Last spring, the Union conducted a campus-wide vote to determine how to spend excess Student Activities Fee monies. Several student groups submitted proposals including one to send a campus delegation to Rwanda and another to outfit a university building with solar panels. In the end, the weight room renovation proposal received the greatest number of votes.

According to Gray, the athletics department received bids from various companies during the summer at the same time that Union members “were working with [Director of Budget in the Department of Students and Enrollment] Frank [Urso] to see how much money would go towards it.”

Gray added, “we’ve been working with Athletics to decide on bids [and] we’ve been working separately with the administration to see how it will be funded.”

“The final decision will be made with Athletics regarding what the renovation will look like and how it will be financed,” he commented.

Urso explained that currently there is nearly $138,000 available to the Union in rollover SAF money. The Union will hold $25,000 in a capital reserve fund. After funding the reserve, the Union will have a balance of $112,600 available, Urso said. “They had a higher balance at one point,” he explained.

Last year, Urso said, some of the available rollover money was spent on projects for student organizations, among other things. Even so, Urso explained that the $112,600 figure is “a conservative number because we built in $10,000 contingency into the system’s project so that we know we’ll have enough money.”

“If Frank is verifying that they have enough money, they have enough money,” said Director of Athletics Sheryl Sousa, “as of today, the money is there.” The question that existed in May, she said, is “how much the Union would be able to allocate.”

Over the summer, Sousa said, the Athletics department received “three competitive bids.”

“We can get it done for under $100,000,” she said. “As soon as the Union signs off and releases the funds, we can get it done pretty quickly.” Sousa said she would meet with Gray next week to finalize details of the project.

Once the financial decisions are complete, “we should be able to get [the weight room] done with minimal interruption to use,” Sousa stated. “We think it’s going to be a great space.”

“The weight room will happen,” said Gray, “there’s really no problem.”