by Walter Kraft, Published August 30, 2010
College athletics is a vital and integral part of the academic experience, for the athletes, our students, and the entire EMU community (faculty, staff, alums, businesses, etc.). Athletics are, however, a small portion of our overall four-year capital-spending plan (2009-2013) of nearly $196 million. More than $137 million, which is just over 70 percent, is directly targeted to academic facilities. This includes projects such as Mark Jefferson, Pray-Harrold, classroom upgrades and Fletcher School. Only 3 percent or our capital spending, or roughly $6 million, is targeted to athletics facilities. These projects include the Indoor Practice Facility at $3.9 million, the athletic scoreboard of $550,000, the Boathouse and improvements to the Convocation Center bleachers.
As promised, and reflective of Eastern's commitment to our community, the Indoor Practice Facility is becoming a sought-after recreation/practice facility in the Washtenaw County area. The facility, open only three months, is already achieving rental revenues budgeted at $500,000 per year, more than offsetting operating costs.
Also important relative to any discussion of Eastern's spending on Athletics is the significantly higher graduation rate of student-athletes (60 percent) when compared to the overall student population.
Capital spending in other areas, such as housing, energy savings, safety and security, and infrastructure enhancements make up the remainder of the four-year capital spending plan budget.