EVEN with major infrastructure on the way, UST Vice-Rector for Finance Fr. Melchor Saria, O.P. assured that there will be no steep tuition increase.

“Rest assured, in spite of these changes, the percentage of increase is just one half of the inflation rate,” he told the Varsitarian.

Saria said UST might only impose a tuition hike of only five per cent at the most next school year.

To help defray the costs of construction, he said the University has sought the help of alumni and philanthropists.

The SGV&Co. accounting firm, co-founded by Thomasian accountants Washington Sycip and Alfredo Velayo, is one of the benefactors of the 6,600-square-meter Alfredo Velayo Building, which will be occupied by the Alfredo Velayo- College of Accountancy next school year.

Ditto the proposed Student Center Building, which has received funding from the Tan Yankee Foundation. Saria said the foundation will shoulder half of the construction expenses.

Construction of the building, which will be named after Tan Yankee, father of business tycoon Lucio Tan, will start anytime this semester, said Saria.

Saria said the University also entered into a build-operate-transfer agreement with Selegna Holdings Corp. (SHC) for the construction of the multi-level carpark building.

Under the agreement, SHC will shoulder all the construction expenses and operate it for the next 15 years before it turns over the management to the University.

Aside from its 646 car slots, the building will have a 2000-square-meter, two-level foodcourt, which will house major fastfood chains and foodstalls.

Saria also said the University will soon erect a sports complex that will have a 5,000-seater, state-of-the-art gymnasium, and three other covered courts.

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Saria said UST is considering acquiring a loan to finance the sports complex, which will take 16 months to construct, at the least.

The Sports Development Fee collected from the students will also be used for the complex’s construction.

Saria said the multi-level carpark building and the sports complex will form the “modern block of UST.”

New park, too

The originally proposed amphitheater, which will take the place of the demolished UST Cooperative Building, will be part of a pedestrian park between the Central Library and the Main Building.

The proposed park, which will be named either the St. Thomas Aquinas Park or the Alumni Park, will replace the existing Colayco Park.

Manuel Colayco’s statue will be transferred to the UST Granstand, Saria said.

Aside from the open theater, permanent kiosks with electricity and running water will be established for student fairs and projects.

“We will put up these kiosks to conform to health and sanitation standards especially in food-selling,” Saria said.

He added that uniform covered walks, dedicated to the alumni of the University, will be built to connect the buildings and serve as venues for student exhibits.

The covered walks will be funded through alumni donations.

Although millions are needed to out carry the infrastructure projects, Saria is confident that UST is on track.

“The projects are possible because the University is doing them on a gradual basis depending on the resources UST has,” he said. Marlene H. Elmenzo

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