Ask President Destler
Welcome to Ask the President:
Question of the Week:
|President Destler, after touring the new Innovation Center building, and taking into consideration the rising tuition costs, I'm curious as to how some of the costs are justified.
For example, I noticed a label on some of the chairs in the conference rooms. After looking at various websites, I found that these chairs are over $700 each. However, few (if any) are available for student use - they are all in offices and conference rooms.
Other examples include the large etched glass mural, the waterfall, and the showers.
Can you explain why these items were included in the building even though tuition costs are rising?
|Thanks for this note. I am very proud of the look of our new University Services Building. The university has heard from many students over time that too many of the university buildings are built without any comfortable space for students or architectural interest. The impact of all the brick construction material makes the campus feel more like a corporate park than school. The administration has been working hard over the past years to soften the feel of the campus. We have heard a lot of praise for including these features in this space
It was the intent of the designers for the University Services Building to achieve a pleasant and restful place in the Student Services area to create the best possible environment for our students to complete transactions and resolve business issues. The comfortable furniture, water-wall, and art glass overlook of the Innovation Center are important features which helped create that unique environment.
With respect to furniture, RIT has special buying agreements with national suppliers including furniture companies like Steelcase. The university paid much less for conference room chairs in the USC building than retail prices shown in on-line sites. The casual furniture placed in the Student Services area, the most public part of the building, was intentionally more “upscale” in keeping with the designer’s intent for the space. With respect to furniture in general, the Institute has always tried to focus on life-cycle cost verses allowing first-cost to dictate purchase decisions. Well-built, quality, high-performance furniture provides greater utility over its longer useful life than something less expensive that may need to be replaced much sooner.
The “silver lining” of the current period of economic uncertainty is considerable savings in construction costs were realized across many areas. This allowed the construction of an environmentally superior facility, uniquely designed for serving student customers, yet at a total cost significantly less than projected.