State budget cuts leave large impact on College of Architecture

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(Graphic by Audrey Hockersmith)

A 5 percent university callback and multiple state budget cuts have left a large impact on the College of Architecture, Planning and Design, the smallest college at Kansas State.

“For a small college, $1 million lost over three years is huge,” Tim de Noble, dean of the college, said.

De Noble said the college was cut roughly $300,000 each year for two years in a row and also lost another $300,000 in a permanent callback.

“The college has one of the highest cost-per-capita for students,” Jeremy Migneco, graduate student in architecture, said. “What that means is what each student requires is so much higher than other colleges.”

Migneco said a prime example to show that the cost-per-capita is higher in architecture than other colleges is that the building has to be lighted, heated and cooled at all times because architecture students utilize the building at all hours of the day.

Studio space is also offered to every student in the college, Migneco said, so they require a larger building where every student can have their own space.

“So when the university is looking at cutting budgets all across the board, what they’re taking from us seems so much more substantial,” Migneco said. “They don’t realize that they’re actually kicking us while we’re down because it seems so small to them, you know it’s just like us paying our fair share.”

Migneco said it is not fair for the university to cut every college by the same percentage because students in the College of Architecture, Planning and Design cost more to educate.

“On paper, it seems like they’re all being cut the same percentage fully across the board,” Migneco said. “But when you look at the business building or Eisenhower, opposed to our building, which is constantly being used and pools a substantial amount of money, it’s just not equal.”

Small college, big share of the funds

Caroline Finck, graduate student in landscape architecture, said while it is the most expensive college to operate, it is also one of the most high-caliber in the state.

“Being such a high ranking program in the state, we’ve been able to use that to lobby from the government,” Finck said. “Last year we went to the Capitol and I never thought I’d actually lobby for something, especially for myself, and I mean we sat in the Capitol and tried to catch people from the House and Senate as they walked out.”

Outside of lobbying for more funds, de Noble said the students themselves voted to increase a $19 per-credit-hour fee to a $40 per-credit-hour fee a few years back.

“It proves our students are doing their part,” de Noble said. “But what’s the state doing?”

Migneco said voting for the fee was one of the best ways for the college to prove to the state that its students are investing in themselves.

“To really get the state invested in what we’re doing, we increased that fee so much to show them our own investment,” Migneco said. “The dean was able to take that to Topeka and tell them our students have upped their fee 50 percent, a really big chunk of money, to prove that they’re invested in their own technology and their own future and we want you to do the same.”

Jason Jirele, graduate student in architecture and president of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council, said it has been frustrating to see that students are investing in themselves, but the state will not reciprocate.

“It is really frustrating that us students are putting in so much money and the state isn’t really helping us out at all,” Jirele said. “I know for a lot of students it’s like, ‘Why are we the only ones trying to do this?’”

Education, buildings worth the investment

Education and buildings are one of the greatest investments the state can make, de Noble said, and both are found in the College of Architecture, Planning and Design.

“Education and buildings are a great, great investment,” de Noble said. “The money they invest comes back to them through taxes. Their investment ends up being multiplied directly by nine and that doesn’t even include indirect generations. I don’t think the state has that great of an investment anywhere else.”

Migneco said it is difficult for people to understand how important architects are and why they are worth the investment.

“It’s a really big misunderstanding that architects are just like the artsy part of the building because engineers do so much to make the building stand up,” Migneco said. “But architects are really instrumental in our society because spaces have such a psychological impact on people and that’s something an engineer isn’t trained to help you with.”

It is instrumental to support the architectural students, Migneco said, because of how much they impact everybody’s daily life.

“It’s really hard for a lot of people to see the necessity in investing in architects because it’s seen as an artsy major, an artsy profession,” Migneco said. “But it’s really not. It’s being licensed to develop a space that makes you feel a certain way, or makes you be a certain way or makes you behave a certain way. So when the dean says it’s instrumental to support architecture, he’s very right because the spaces that we are in shape the way we are and in so doing, shapes society.”

Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a series analyzing the effects of budget cuts on the colleges at Kansas State and their students. Next week’s story will look at the College of Arts and Sciences.

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Hi, I'm Kaitlyn Alanis, former news editor for the Collegian and a May 2017 graduate in agricultural communications and journalism. I have never tried a hamburger and I hate the taste of coffee, but I love writing stories and sharing what I learn with our readers. By writing for the Collegian, I can now not only sing along when the K-State Band plays "The Band is Hot," but I also know that most agriculture students did not grow up on a farm, how to use an AED to save someone's life and why there is a bust of MLK Jr. outside of Ahearn Field House. Thanks for reading!