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At what cost?

I am writing to voice my continued concern over the University's decision to embark on yet another construction project in a time of financial stress ("Cabell renovation obtains funding," April 7).

The $64.5 million we have received from the state to renovate Cabell Hall is a generous amount, but let us not forget where that money is coming from: Virginia taxpayers. Unlike private donations, which often have been used to fund athletic scholarships and facilities, for example, these public funds put even more stress on the government and take away from projects elsewhere in the Commonwealth - such as increasing public school teachers' salaries or preventing some public libraries, such as those in Chesterfield County, from having to close two days a week.

Indeed, it would be more prudent for the University to consider readjusting its allocation of current funds, perhaps slightly lowering the salaries of University administrators, who are among the highest paid public employees in the state, as the article ironically next to the one covering the proposed Cabell renovation stated ("College administrators receive highest state pay," April 7).

While I agree with every other undergraduate who has had to sit through either a freezing cold or obscenely hot discussion section in Cabell Hall that the building needs to be renovated, now is not the time. Tuition is still on the rise, and some departments are having trouble staffing professors for their students, which poses a greater problem - I would hope - for the prestige of this university than faulty air-conditioning units.

That college rankings are somewhat contingent on the "modernity" of a school's infrastructure and facilities is important to consider, although simultaneously troubling, but this consideration absolutely should come second to the academic experience of its students and the administration's accountability to the families and students themselves who are struggling to afford the ever-higher costs of higher education.

I hope others will join me in asking the administration to consider waiting to start this new renovation of Cabell until the construction on Newcomb Hall, Garrett Hall, Rice Hall, the parking garage, the new Alderman Road dorms, Ivy Stacks and the art museum on Rugby Road are successfully completed.

Laura Lattimer\nCLAS III