A student facilities fee created to fund capital improvements provided much of the revenue necessary to construct two new university entrances and a pedestrian mall.
Since the 2000-2001 school year, students have been billed a mandatory facilities fee each semester. According to the Bursar's Office homepage, the facilities fee is used to provide students "with upgraded classroom facilities, expand information technology into the classroom and fund campus infrastructure improvements."
While tuition, maintenance, program and services fees have continued to rise, the facilities fee has remained steady at $25 per semester for full-time resident students. Fees are adjusted for non-resident, graduate and part-time students and it is this money that funds projects such as the campus entrances, the pedestrian mall and the new brickwork and landscaping in Circle Park, John Clark, director of media relations, said.
Construction of the Joe Johnson-John Ward Pedestrian Mall began in July 2002 and was part of a senior class gift.
The total cost of the project was $2,770,000. $1.6 million of that came from the student facilities fee with the remaining $1.17 million from auxiliary funds.
"Those are revenues generated by the bookstore, (not) state money," Clark said. "It comes from traditional university sources."
The campus entrances were completed at a cost of more than $1 million, with $700,000 coming from the Campus Beautification and Improvement fund, which receives its money from the student facilities fee.
"The balance of $1.3 million would be Tennessee School Bond Authority bonds or state bonds," Clark said. "And those bonds would be retired with money from the student facilities fee."
Other campus improvement projects have been funded with revenue from a variety of sources, depending on the type of facility.
Parking garages, for instance, have been largely funded through parking revenues, but some have been funded through the athletic department for special event parking.
Academic buildings are generally paid for in total or mostly by state funds, Clark said.
An exception to that will be planned Glocker Hall renovations, which will be a combination of private and public funds as announced by Gov. Phil Bredesen in this year's State of the State Address.