Shooting Sports Education Center predominantly funded by student fees despite more usage by non-students

According to statistics by Gene Sherry, campus recreation and intramurals executive director, the cost budget of the Shooting Sports Education Center is funded mostly by student fees. 

Shiann Sivell

The Georgia Southern University Shooting Sports Education Center is being used more by non-students than students, but students are paying for a larger portion of the budget than the public, Gene Sherry, campus recreation and intramurals executive director, said.

The question of the cost of the SSEC came into light at a GS Faculty Senate meeting in early April by English Professor Robert Costomiris. Costomiris said that building the Shooting Sports Education Center had been a matter of some debate, whether it was a wise decision to begin with and there were promises that it would be kind of a cost neutral place.

“Sixty-Six percent of the Shooting Sports Education Center budget comes from RAC fees,” Costomiris said. “502 students use the SSEC on average per year, and if you take the $370,000 coming from RAC fees and divide it by the number of students, that’s $737 per student to use the Shooting Sports Education Center [per year].”

Costomiris said that the numbers were meaningless unless they are seen in the light of what the general public pays.

“There are 1,351 of the general public non-student members who contribute to the budget of the cost of the shooting center, and pay $193,000 per year. Divided by the 1,351 members, you come up with the cost of the general users as $142 per year, significantly less than what students their selves are contributing,” Costomiris said. 

According to records provided by Sherry, the SSEC has an operating budget of $563,539. Of that, $369,751 comes from student RAC fees.The rest comes from outside sources fees from faculty or student’s spouses, partners or dependents, said Sherry.

Sherry said that the reason facilities like the SSEC allow the general public is to generate revenue so that they can expand without increasing student fees.

“We were just using the existing RAC fee because of the growth of enrollment,” Sherry said. “To accommodate them and to expand recreational opportunities, we opened it [the SSEC] up to the public.”

Students speak

Many students like freshman Daniel Ethridge say he doesn’t mind paying the fees for facilities he doesn’t use like the SSED.

“It’s good for those who are interested in it,” Ethridge said. “As long as it’s helping those people who use it enjoy it, I’m fine with it.”

Alyssa Knowls, senior Spanish major, said she uses the SSEC center a lot and doesn’t mind that her fees are used to run it.

“If someone benefits from it in the future, then I have no problem with my money going towards it,” Knowls said. “It’s a great way to learn how to use firearms on campus and do it in a safe and protected environment.”

Shiann Sivell, The George-Anne News Reporter, [email protected]