Oct. 10, 2012 03:29

Fifty-four percent of the 2,850 UL students voting in this week's referendum favored increasing fees to help fund campus-wide improvements.

Getting more campus improvements was worth a semesterly fee hike for a majority of the UL Lafayette students who cast ballots in this week's two-day referendum.

The $7.50 per credit hour fee increase passed by a vote of 1,537 to 1,313 - a 54 to 46 percent margin - which amounts to a voter turnout of a little more than 17 percent, according to the university's Facebook page,

Aaron Martin, the university's director of communications and marketing, says the increase, which caps at 15 credit hours, will only be used to fund certain master plan projects.

Those projects will include:

- Widening and repairing sidewalks
- Creating dedicated paths for bicyclists
- Adding more racks and lockers for bicyclists
- Improving parking conditions and intramural fields
- A 24-hour study space

The new fee, Martin stresses, will not fund the 48,000 square-foot expansion of the Cajundome Convention Center, the attachment of a 300-room hotel to the convention center or the construction of a 100,000 square-foot performing arts center. A funding source has not been identified for those projects.

UL's Student Government Association President Ashley Mudd says the passage of the fee increase will allow the university to receive loans, which means projects could start getting under way before semester's end. A student committee will soon be formed to aid SGA in the prioritization of those projects.

Martin tells IND Monthly another list of projects - separate from the projects to be funded by the new student-assessed fee -  will be unveiled by the UL Athletic Department during the football team's Oct. 23 home game against Arkansas State.

Read the flipping paper