UCSD’s Crafts Center may reopen, despite a September announcement that it would be closed during the 2012–13 academic year. However, because of the current budget situation of University Centers, the Crafts Center will only reopen if there is enough support from students.
The center was temporarily closed on Sept. 26 to grant time to determine whether the facility could be renovated, and to figure the cost of maintenance. Approximately $1.5 million is required to complete repairs, in addition to $212,000 in annual operating expenditures.
University Centers Advisory Board’s decision to close the center came after students had already registered for programs and classes.
“The Crafts Center closure was a hard decision to make, but keeping it open and running after the facility analysis reports were released was not a feasible option,” University Centers Interim Director Sharon Van Bruggen said. “Frankly, its reopening will be difficult based on the way our budget currently stands and previous student interest in the service.”
Van Bruggen said that while reopening the center is not impossible, its future depends on demonstrated student interest and willingness to pay.
The Guardian previously reported that student interest and activity in the Crafts Center has slowly decreased in recent school years, with 79 fewer students enrolled in crafts classes in 2011–12 than in 2004–05.
Operating the Crafts Center would only be possible through the University Centers Advisory Board’s proposed referendum. The referendum, would increase student fees to maintain and renovate University Centers, which include Price Center and Student Center.
Student interest and usage, facility costs and funding for operations will determine whether the Crafts Center can be reopened. UCAB has spoken with students, community members, and organizations to find alternate sources of funding to maintain the Crafts Center’s operations. UCAB has spoken with UCSD Extension and UCSD Recreation to gauge their potential interest in operating crafts programming, along with student and community members to increase fundraising efforts.
As mentioned in the potential referendum, the costs to renovate the Crafts Center and run the facility are a part of the fee increase discussions. If the referendum fails to pass and the students do not approve a fee increase, UCAB will consider alternative ways to address the budget situation.
“I think we would have to see a lot of student support for its reopening,” UCAB Chair Albert Trujillo said. “We would also probably look at how the Crafts Center intends to increase its sales and attract more people to take workshops and classes.”
Until the Crafts Center is renovated, crafts classes may be offered on campus in different location;, for example, photography classes offered at Student Center. University Centers, UCSD Recreation and UCSD Extension are discussing the possibility of offering Crafts Center programs through alternative outlets.