Cal Lodge, an ASUC-owned property in Lake Tahoe, lost upward of $27,000 last year, according to ASUC Executive Vice President Justin Sayarath.
Dan Borge, the manager of the lodge, said he believes the property has the potential to become a lucrative investment if the ASUC Senate modernizes the property to better accommodate the student body and surrounding community.
Management of the Cal Lodge was transferred from the ASUC Auxiliary to the ASUC Senate and executive vice president during the realignment of the Auxiliary in June 2011, Sayarath said.
The lodge, which was built in the late 1930s by UC student volunteers, has been plagued by expensive damages, mismanagement and a lack of consistent bookings. The lodge’s management, however, insists that there is opportunity for improvement if the senate cooperates with its vision.
“Right now, Cal Lodge is responsible for making 80 percent of its revenue in just four months, and it is impossible to fund this lodge on that revenue alone,” Borge said. “Cal Lodge will never pay for itself unless we receive funding to become a summertime lodge as well.”
Sayarath stressed the senate’s resolve to come to a creative solution for Cal Lodge’s woes.
“At the beginning of my term, I presented the senate with several options with what to do with the Cal Lodge, and they ranged from renovating the property, closing the property and even selling the property,” Sayarath said. “At this point, we are all working together to figure out what is best for the students.”
CalSERVE Senator Nolan Pack, who is running as his party’s candidate for executive vice president in the upcoming spring elections, blamed much of the lodge’s underperformance on the senate’s lax approach to the property’s revenue loss.
“Being proactive about repairs is cheaper and safer than the reactive approach that’s been taken by the senate of the last two years,” Pack said.
Pack said that past senates have had a bad habit of waiting for things to fail on the property before ordering repairs, which greatly compounds costs and can handicap the lodge during peak seasons.
Borge acknowledged that damage and repair costs contribute to revenue loss but urged the senate to look at outdoor renovations and updates as a solution.
“We need to solve accessibility issues and add outdoor activities and venues and stages so that we can have groups here at the lodge year-round,” Borge said. “If we could be a summertime lodge as well as a winter lodge, our revenue would quadruple.”
More than 20 student groups from UC Berkeley are regular customers of the lodge during the winter season — many from the Greek system. Borge said he aims to make the Cal Lodge a valuable student and community resource.
“It would be a win-win for the chancellor, the ASUC and the student body,” Borge said. “Not only would UC students have access to a world-class education, but they would also have an amazing place in Tahoe to bring large student groups for recreation.”
Borge also stressed that Cal Lodge’s recent performance has improved during the winter months, recording its busiest month in history this January.
“With a little work and vision,” Borge said, “Cal Lodge could be a pretty rocking place.”