I will agree that some of the facilities are lavish and a waste of money. However, what you might see as a waste of money might be different than what I see as a waste.

For example, DH and I attended the same college. I think everyone on this forum would recognize the school as a well regarded private engineering school. Both of us have engineering degrees. DH also has a minor in theater, so a performing arts center might be important to him.

I could not tell you where the theater performances took place. I just don't care. I am certain that there were theater types (though not DH) who never visited the athletic facilities and just didn't care.

While I don't care about the arts, and some other folks don't care about athletics, that doesn't mean that the colleges should skimp on either. Lavish facilities might not be needed, but I would be wary of a college that held performances in a large storage building or a school that had a four lane, 25-yard pool for 30,000 undergraduates.

Looking at the 30 best college pools article, I see UCF on there. They have over 50,000 undergraduates - that is nearly twice the size of my municipality. If the facilities were for a school of 4,000, it might be lavish. For a school of UCF's size, it is appropriate.

Some students don't care about athletic facilities - probably more academically oriented, bright kids fall into this category than the not as bright. Many of middle kid's friends do not understand why she spends so much time on her sports - practices, recruiting camps, etc. Of course, some of them may spend time on academic competitions, marching band, etc. - and that is fine. My kid and her friends may think different college facilities are important because certain facilities are important to them based upon their interests. And I accept that what might seem like a lavish performing arts center to me might seem to be just right to others.