IUP’s Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex managed to eke out a slight operating profit in fiscal 2013, despite having hosted fewer public performances, according to the university.
For the year, which runs from July 1 to June 30, the venue recorded an operating profit of $2,911 on revenues of about $1.47 million.
“Small, but it’s still better than break-even,” said Sam Phillips, assistant vice president for administration. Phillips and Cornelius Wooten, vice president for administration and finance, reported on the venue’s year-end financial results during a council of trustees meting on Thursday.
Having opened in March 2011, 2012-2013 was the second full year of operations for the Kovalchick Complex as well as the second it managed to post an operating profit. In fiscal 2012, the university reported an operating profit of $7,226.
So profits fell on revenues that were down by nearly one-third over last year, according to the results. Wooten said the venue wasn’t able to book as many performances as it would have liked, because of market conditions.
He said that performers have been avoiding playing at smaller venues in favor of major markets. But, he said, it’s believed that will change in the time ahead.
And while the venue saw its revenues drop, so did its expenses. According to the university, direct event expenses dropped proportionately to about $1.46 million. The figure excludes fixed costs, such as salaries, utilities and maintenance. Those increased 7 percent to $556,604.
Although the venue didn’t lose money on the events held there, overall it still ran at a loss of $1.46 million, once the fixed costs, the building’s construction debt and donations made to help pay for it are taken into account.
To be clear, the venue, for purposes of the university’s books, is not a standalone entity. Its revenue and expenses are contained within the university’s general fund.
Officials, however, have been breaking out the numbers and reporting them to provide some transparency.
On top of $2.2 million in debt service, administrators were preparing to allocate $1.2 million annually to cover operating shortfalls.
But at the same time, it’s not likely to turn into a cash machine going forward. Given the results, it’s operating on tight margins, less than 0.5 percent.
Still, there is room for growth, Phillips said, particularly in the conference center side of the venue. And that, he said, proved to be the bright spot for the second year in a row.
He said 25,815 people attended 300 conference center events during the year.
“The Kovalchick Complex conference center has turned into the region’s conference center of choice,” Phillips said. “The future outlook for the facility is extremely strong.”