Dear UNT students,
Student representatives from the Union Master Plan committee have worked alongside university administration, Student Government Association (SGA) and architects from Perkins+Will to develop a design concept for a new Union at the University of North Texas (UNT). From the very beginning students have been a part of the project, working to develop the most advantageous plan to benefit our campus. In fact, more than 6,500 students have participated in the discussions at student forums and events already held.
As we get closer to the referendum dates and the design reveal, the committee wants to make sure UNT students have an understanding of the proposed fee increase. Student representatives and SGA met with university administration to look at a few options that could be considered. The proposed plan is one that will be fiscally responsible and still allow individuals that are paying the fee increase, an opportunity to enjoy the facility as a student. This plan was approved in the SGA Senate on March 7, 2012.
A plan for a fee increase of no more than $115, to the current fee, would go into effect in fall 2014, if approved by a student body vote on April 2-6, 2012. Starting the fee at this date would allow students to save millions of dollars over the life of the loan, and it would ensure that most of the individuals paying for the facility would actually get to use it. By delaying the fee one year longer, UNT would have to borrow a larger portion of the project cost, inflating the actual cost of the building without any benefit to the students at UNT. Additionally, this will help offset costs associated with fluctuations in enrollment, construction costs, interest rates, and/or inflation. Money saved by starting the fee, would also be used in the form of enhanced programs and services. Ultimately, the Union Board of Directors, comprised of mostly students, decides how this would be spent.
Tuition money is restricted from paying for construction of non-academic buildings on campus, so the only way to fund a renovated and expanded University Union is through a union fee. Specific state funds are used to build academic buildings on campus, meaning that the union fee money cannot be used for academic buildings or other campus projects.
The University Union seeks to significantly improve programs and facilities by adding:
- expanded student organization and meeting space,
- new technology,
- sustainable features,
- increased dining options and facilities,
- 24-hour access,
- flexible lounge space and entertainment venues,
- significant UNT branding,
- more modern design functions (i.e. natural light, comfortable seating, outdoor venues, quiet spaces, etc.), and
- an improved student experience and enhanced campus culture.
Students can vote on the Union Master Plan from April 2nd to April 5th, 2012, online at http://sga.unt.edu.
For more information about the Union Master Plan, visit the official website at http://union.unt.edu/masterplan.
Your Union, Your Voice!