Kansas Board: Maintenance Backlog Grows on Campuses

By: AP/13 News
By: AP/13 News

TOPEKA, Kan. _ The Kansas Board of Regents says a backlog of maintenance projects at state universities has grown 24 percent
since 2006.

That's despite 2007 legislation that was intended to address the problem.

The board says the six public universities and the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas, have a backlog of $825 million. That's up from $663 million in 2006.

They attribute the increase to a significant increase in construction inflation, the increased age of the campus buildings, and the continued underfunding of annual maintenance needs.

“It’s no surprise that this problem continues to grow,” Donna Shank of Liberal, the Chair of the Kansas Board of Regents, said in a statement.
“While the 2007 legislation provided an important down-payment, it
fell significantly short of the kind of comprehensive solution that
would adequately and ultimately address this pressing issue. That being said, the legislation did give us an opportunity to begin work on the most vital maintenance projects and we’ve already seen positive
results.”

Kansas lawmakers approved a plan in 2007 to provide the universities $134 million over five years for maintenance projects. It also provided tax credits to encourage donations for such projects.

But the current budget crunch means continued funding is in limbo.

“The progress made to date will all be for naught if deferred maintenance funding is cut this legislative session; the important
investment made to date must be protected and the legislative promise
must be kept,” Shank said. “The challenge for us is to balance the
current economic reality with the need to protect the safety of our
students.”

The maintenance backlog on the state university campuses is as
follows:

Kansas State University: $290.6 million
The University of Kansas: $226 million
The University of Kansas Medical Center: $90.5 million
Pittsburg State University: $67 million
Fort Hays State University: $51 million
Emporia State University: $50.6 million
Wichita State University: $49.3 million

TOTAL: $825 million

Source: Board of Regents

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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