New Sports Facilities to be Ready by September
Since the construction of the new sports facilities started at the beginning of January 2016, students have been wondering why exactly the administration decided to build these facilities instead of something else, and whether the construction and the maintenance of the facilities will affect the tuition fees. Though this project has existed for years, most students found out about it when they saw the fence and the excavators.
What will the facilities constitute of? Why do students need two tennis courts?
Yasen Nedelchev, Athletics Director at AUBG, stated that there will be a volleyball and a basketball pitch, two tennis courts, a baseball cage, outdoor sports equipment, a football pitch which could be divided in two smaller pitches, and a parking. The decision to build these facilities was not based on the exact statistics of the students’ preferences. The main goal of the responsible members of the administration was to provide good conditions for students with different sport preferences.
At first, the fields will be covered in asphalt in order for them to be ready for use at the beginning of the new school year in September. When AUBG is financially prepared, the facilities will be covered with a special surface which will resemble artificial grass. The construction of the fields will be the final major project of the sports department, as Nedelchev said.
Will the construction and the maintenance of the facilities affect the student activities fees or the tuition?
Steven Sullivan, the Provost of AUBG, stated that the “current projections [of the administration] are that the tuition and fees currently planned are sufficient to accommodate the extra costs associated with the completion of the sports fields and their operatio.” The already purchased right to use the land where the facilities are being built would have expired and would have been returned to the municipality of Blagoevgrad if the construction hadn’t started at the beginning of the month. Since AUBG had already invested in the land, it would have lost the investment too, Sullivan added.
Lydia Krise, Dean of Students, said that the potential raises in the fees in the future will not be because of the facilities. The university would actually spare some expenses by being the owner of the facilities instead of paying rent to other venues. The access to the fields will be restricted and only members of the AUBG community as well as students who come to the ELI on summer camps will be able to use them. The only exception will be the outdoor gymnastics apparatus to which other people will have access.
Building a pool was also considered as an option before starting the construction, but Krise explained that there are other municipal pools students can use, including the newest one which opened not long ago. Students at AUBG are very active, Krise said, and she believes the new facilities will encourage “more and more people to take advantage” once they are completed.
There will be sports instructors to train students and some basic sports equipment materials such as footballs will be provided, Krise added. Both Krise and Nedelchev expressed their excitement to finally complete the project which will bring the development of the sports department close to the end.
Will the Olympics event be held on campus from now on?
Dragomir Kyosev, president of Olympics, stated that it would be convenient for the club to hold the games in the fields as well as the lawn between the ABF Student Center and Balkanski Academic Center. “It will be easier for students just to get out of Skapto and go right to the field instead of travelling to Bachinovo,” Kyosev said. It would also help reduce the event’s costs which would then be used for the awards, for example. The members of the club now face the dilemma of remaining true to the challenge of organizing the event in Bachinovo, where it has been organized for years, or taking advantage of the new facilities. Still, “the issue of moving AUBG Olympics on campus would be thoroughly discussed by the crew next year,” Kyosev said.
Will the access to the facilities be limited to students only?
The ability of the facilities to recover the money spent for their maintenance was further discussed at the Town Hall Meeting President Kulinski held on Thursday, February 11. Local people or other sports clubs may be allowed to organize sports events and tournaments during the summer break when AUBG students are not on campus. This is meant to gain money which will be used for the maintenance of the fields during the break, so that students won’t be pressured to pay more fees.
Alexander Alexandrov, VP for Finance and Administration, addressed the issue and said that it was up to the AUBG community to decide whether to reduce the costs of maintaining it by “allowing the public in.” “The question to students,” Alexandrov said, “would be ‘Do you want to pay all of it or do you want to let somebody use it?’” so that the renters will undertake some of the expenses.
What do some students think after they have been acquainted with information about the facilities?
Kalina Stamatova, a third–year student, stated that the idea of the facilities is not bad as long as student activity fees are not raised dramatically. She thinks it wouldn’t be a huge problem if outside people are allowed to use them, but it will be hard to reach a consensus of opinion among students.
Amir Tazhinov, co-president of the AUBG Soccer League, stated that the facilities will be “great for the development of sport in AUBG.” It will be good for students to play outside when the weather allows it, because “it’s difficult to combine all the variety of sports” in one sports hall, Tazhinov added.