January 20, 2011

Growth of Deferred Maintenance Backlog Increases But Slows; Now Totals $876 Million

(TOPEKA) – Today the Kansas Board of Regents released an updated report of the maintenance needs on the six state university campuses. While progress has been made in addressing the maintenance backlog, thanks in part to the 2007 Legislature’s 5-Year Maintenance Plan and continued work by the Board and the state universities, campus maintenance needs continue to grow. The “Report on State University Deferred and Annual Maintenance,” which has been produced biennially since 2004, indicates the deferred maintenance backlog has grown to $876 million, a 6% increase since 2008.

2010 Backlog: $876 million total, + $51 million (+ 6%) since 2008
2008 Backlog: $825 million total, + $162 million (+ 24%) since 2006
2006 Backlog: $663 million total

“As any homeowner knows, routine maintenance and repair gets more expensive to fix the longer it’s deferred,” said Regent Gary Sherrer of Overland Park, the Chairman of the Board of Regents. “Because these buildings are a critical state asset, whose quality ultimately attracts or deters students, it’s critical this issue remains an ongoing priority. While much work remains, we’re thankful the Legislature provided additional funding that helped to slow the growth of the overall backlog. Because it will only get more expensive over time, it’s clear the fiscally responsible thing to do is address the issue sooner rather than later.”

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

  2010 2008 Change from 2008
KSU $314.3 million $290.6 million +$23.7 million (+8%)
KU $298.9 million $316.5 million -$17.6 million (-6%)
PSU $79.5 million $67 million +$12.5 million (+19%)
WSU $73.4 million $49.3 million +$24.1 million (+49%)
ESU $57.1 million $50.6 million +$6.5 million (+13%)
FHSU $52.5 million $51 million +$1.5 million (+3%)
TOTAL $875.7 million $825 million +$50.7 million (+6%)

In order to produce the report, facilities condition assessments were conducted on the 438 mission-critical academic and academic support buildings located on the state university campuses during the summer of 2010. The assessments followed previously established and uniform methodologies which were validated by an independent national consultant. The report updated building replacement costs, utility and infrastructure replacement costs, building inventories, quantities of utilities and infrastructure, and other data.

Despite the infusion of state funding that was authorized by the 2007 Legislature (funding totaling $63.7 million has been appropriated for three years of the five year program for the state universities) and the receipt of federal stimulus funding (totaling $45.8 million for FY 2009 through FY 2011), the deferred maintenance backlog continues to increase. The growth is due primarily to the increased age of the physical plant, and the continued under-funding of both deferred and annual maintenance. However, the backlog would have undoubtedly been higher had the economic downturn not held construction labor and material costs in check. The report indicates that $92 million is required annually in order for the backlog to stop growing ($52 million was available in FY 2010).

To date, thanks to the 2007 Legislature’s 5-Year Maintenance plan, 96 state university maintenance projects have been approved, 79 have been initiated, and 42 have been completed. Projects include utility tunnel improvements, boiler replacement, waterline improvements, electrical switchgear replacements, ADA improvements, life-safety improvements, and the re-roofing of facilities, among others.

The condition of state university buildings play an important role in the state’s economic success. Investments in higher education are an important factor when businesses consider moving to Kansas or when Kansas businesses consider relocating or expanding. The condition of university buildings also influences where students decide to pursue higher education. An Association of Physical Plant Administrators’ survey found that 73% of students said facilities related to their major were extremely or very important in deciding where they would attend college.

The complete “Report on State University Deferred and Annual Maintenance” can be found on the Board’s website at the following link: 2010ReportonDeferred&AnnualMaintenance-FINAL.pdf.


About the Kansas Board of Regents:
The nine-member Kansas Board of Regents is the governing board of the state’s six universities and the statewide coordinating board for the state’s 32 public higher education institutions (seven public universities, 19 community colleges, and six technical colleges). In addition, the Board administers the state’s student financial aid, adult education, GED, and career and technical education programs. The Board also authorizes private proprietary schools and out-of-state institutions to operate in Kansas, and administers Kan-ed, a statewide network that provides broadband Internet access and distance learning capabilities for schools, hospitals, and libraries.

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