As most students may know by now, Cabell library is currently undergoing a $50.8 million construction project. This means that almost 93,000 square feet of new space will be added to the facility and the existing 63,000 square feet of space will be completely renovated and improved, according to VCU News.
This new renovation also calls for a mandatory, annual student fee of $25 for full-time students, which will be proposed to the Board of Visitors on May 9.
Usually, when students hear the word “fee,” they think disaster. With the increasing high cost of tuition and the many hidden fees found after coming to college, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. However, this particular fee for the library is more reasonable and useful than other university fees that we have seen in the past, like the graduation gown fee.
This fee will be going toward the new expanded space in the library and to help pay for the extra services and staff required for the new library. With the addition of new computers for video editing, small-scale audio and video production, green screen studios and 3D printers, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to students that these extra amenities will need to be financially supported by the student body.
The new improvements benefit both the administration and the student body. While the administration will benefit from a more aesethically impressive building, and faculty will benefit from greater ease of research, we will benefit from the increased space, resources and accessibilty of services. I understand that some students don’t use the library as much as others, but with the new improvements and additional services, that will change. If students realize they are now paying a small fee for the library, it can motivate them to start using this new study space. Making students more directly responsible for the space will ensure that they take advantage of it. Ownership has that kind of effect on people.
It’s not every day that a university plans to tear down their library and build a brand new one that costs millions. If it brings about a better learning environment for the students, then there shouldn’t be a problem with paying $25 to make it all happen. This is our university and Cabell is our library, whether you frequently spend nights there or only go there to print papers. Paying an additional fee isn’t a punishment or disincentive, but just the cost of ownership.