With spring classes still weeks away, the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus has had a quiet winter break.
Students, faculty and staff are scattered across the country visiting family and friends for the holidays, which leaves the campus empty during the four-week break.
With a few stragglers still taking advantage of campus facilities — like the University Memorial Center and the Recreation Center — departments are looking for ways to cut costs and still provide services to those who remain.
University officials said reducing building hours and labor are the most common adjustments made by facilities in an attempt to cut costs.
Shannon Evins, interim assistant director for the UMC, said because of the lack of students on campus, the facility is losing more money than it is producing during winter break — despite cost-cutting measures.
Evins said the UMC brings in revenue from the Alfred Packard Grill and other services offered in the building. But with classes out of session, December and January are the slowest revenue-producing months of the fiscal year.
“It looks like, on the average, the difference is about $100,000 to $150,000 in reduced revenues in slow months, in comparison to busy months like October and April,” Evins said.
Reduced building hours save the facility about $6,000 in utility costs during the break, Evins said. With students gone, hourly labor is also cut saving the UMC another $3,500, Evins said.
But the estimated $10,000 in cuts being made during winter break doesn’t compare to the drop in revenue, Evins said.
“We have other options in the summer months of generating revenue to offset our costs,” Evins said. “There is conference activity on campus and we often feed them — or they’ll have their meetings in the UMC, so we have some non-student business.”
Winter break operations in the UMC have remained about the same over the past five years, Evins said.
The campus’s Rec Center is also cutting hours and student labor during the winter break, said Tim Jorgensen, associate director of programs for the facility.
“We are run by the Student Government,” Jorgensen said. “Last year, they actually cut some of our hours to save costs.”
Jorgensen said, like most campus facilities, the Rec Center is forced to balance reduced costs with a commitment to serving the campus community. The Rec Center is funded by mandatory student fees and Jorgensen said while they’re doing what they can to cut back during the break, there are still some faculty, staff, alumni and even students on campus that deserve the services they paid for.
“It’s also a commitment to our staff,” Jorgensen said. “Some students depend on those jobs and a certain amount of income.”
The Rec Center’s reduced hours can be found on their website at www.colorado.edu/rec-center.
Campus-wide closures — including Monday, Jan. 2 — also contribute to reduced costs for the university.