In the past few years, the University has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on construction and renovation projects. Often, however, the money is poorly spent on indulgences instead of necessities. By scrutinizing the details of construction projects, the University could avoid wasting money and devote more resources to priorities.
The Carlson School of Management provides a good example of poorly spent money. The school is replacing overhead projectors, which cost only a few hundred dollars, last several years and are easily repairable. The complicated replacements consist of a camera mounted on the ceiling pointing downward, which feeds a live image to a computer, where its focus and direction can be controlled. The image is then transferred to an LCD projector and then onto a special whiteboard. This setup costs more than $10,000, provides results almost identical to a whiteboard or overhead projector, but costs several thousands of dollars more.
This expensive system is not likely to improve the Carlson School’s national ranking. If the funding had instead been spent on improving truly important factors, such as reducing class sizes, all Carlson students would have realized real benefits. Other University projects should consider the prudence of their spending and prioritize necessities rather than frivolities.