Archive for Saturday, January 20, 2007

Regents told to reduce repairs

Lawmakers want athletic facilities off maintenance list

January 20, 2007


— Lawmakers have ordered higher education officials to pare down their $727 million repair bill, saying they don't want to pay for maintenance work at buildings such as Allen Fieldhouse.

Sen. Jean Kurtis Scho-dorf, R-Wichita, and chairwoman of a task force studying deferred maintenance, said Friday that legislators wanted the Kansas Board of Reg-ents to remove athletic facilities from the work list.

"By taking out athletic facilities and other items, that puts it in the $600 million range," Schodorf said. "That seems a little more reasonable."

For example, in Kansas University's list of $284 million in repairs, the school includes $8.1 million of work at Allen Fieldhouse, $3.3 million for Memorial Stadium and nearly $1 million for the chancellor's residence, guest house and garage.

Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, a member of the task force, said the goal was to remove facilities from the list that may be able to receive funding through other means.

Kip Peterson, a regents spokesman, said all buildings on the universities' deferred maintenance list are state buildings.

But, he said, lawmakers are uncomfortable dealing with repairs to buildings that aren't considered critical to the schools' mission.

"We have gone through the list to scrub out buildings, such as Allen Fieldhouse, and are working with campuses to do that.

"We should have a list that should be ready next week," Peterson said.

Also to be removed from the facilities audit for KU is $305,797 for the old multicultural resource building, which has been replaced by a new facility.

Peterson said the regents welcomed the scrutiny from lawmakers, saying it showed they are taking the issue seriously.

Over the course of testimony given to the task force the past week, Francisco said it had become apparent that the six regents universities would not be able to absorb more than $100 million per year in total for repair funds.

"When you are remodeling classrooms, you can only have so many that are out of use," she said.

On the House side, lawmakers have moved on a smaller package.

The Appropriations Committee on Friday recommended approval of a bill that would essentially free up $15 million in additional funds for repairs per year.

The provision is included in a politically popular measure that locks in the second and third years of funding for public schools contained in a three-year, $466 million increase.

Peterson said the deferred maintenance part of the bill would not be enough for colleges, but he called the measure "a good start" in the legislative process.


The_Twelve 11 years, 4 months ago

Exactly. Perkins only wants to shove the burden on the rest of us, so he can rake in more bucks for himself. The money is there, he just doesn't want to spend it if he can make the taxpayers do it for him.

His generosity is unbelievable: take a look at all the parking spots students have to give up so he can have "practice fields" over by the stadium.

redbird 11 years, 4 months ago

Athletic facilties should be taken care by the Ath. Dept....with the only dept. that has a profit on campus(no others can have this like Facilities Operations who do almost all of the remodeling and all of the maintenance on said buildings) it is only right to be struck from the list.Let them take care of their buildings through generous alum donations and the huge profit from tickets and tv games!!! Maybe it will take away from future pay hikes and perks for the Ath. Dept. administration and coaches but that is the price to pay to get what they want....

Nonsense 11 years, 4 months ago

Athletics is big business. But fielding teams are equally as costly. But I agree that a percentage of the income should go to maintaining the facilities.

budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago

Just curious, when did an athletic sport such as basketball or football become a legal matter that needs to be addressed by law makers. Dont they make enough revenue from ticket sales?????????????

Godot 11 years, 4 months ago

$1,000,000 for the Chancellor's residence? What are they planning to do, raze it and rebuild? I recall a previous article that put the repairs at $500,000. See what happens with every minute of delay? The price just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

mick 11 years, 4 months ago

Regents should be required to have a class with a math professor so he can explain what those zeroes behind a number mean.

budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago

Does anyone think they can tell the Regents what to do?? These people have worked hard to get enough money to be in this position. They can call the shots.

fletch 11 years, 4 months ago

Allen Fieldhouse is a state built building on a state campus. It also serves as one of the biggest public "gateways" to KU. It is what KU is known for, whether people like that fact or not. That being said, the KUAD can still chip in.

The Chancellor's residence is not actually the house the Chancellor lives at. It's the old residence that was used until the 1950s. It still hosts functions for visiting dignitaries, speakers, and other special KU guests, as well as housing some of those people in the guest house. It also holds KU museum holdings relating to KU and Kansas history. It also happens to be under the restrictions of the National Historic Places registry (one of the nearby buildings is on it), so you're not legally allowed to do renovations without proper planning and permitting, which is why it costs more. The complex is also enormous (6 bedrooms, full banquet area, guest house, etc), so renovations aren't an easy process.

As always, there are logical reasons for these pricetags if people are willing to look at the facts instead of just having uninformed knee jerk reactions.

Tony Kisner 11 years, 4 months ago

I am curious if the topic of selective admissions for in-state students comes up during the review of Tax expenditures needed for repairs.

Godot 11 years, 4 months ago

Well, fletch, do you have a knee-jerk explanation as to why the price tag for the Chancellor's house went from $500,000 to $1,000,000 in a matter of weeks?

Godot 11 years, 4 months ago

And, regarding the $1million to renovate the Chancellor's house, where no one resides, what is the basic educational function of this museum?

Godot 11 years, 4 months ago

A search of Douglas County property records yields no property owned by Hemenway. What is the situation? If he does not use the Chancellors house as his residence, where does he live, and who pays for it?

Godot 11 years, 4 months ago

Note that one of the highest paid government officials residing in Douglas County, whose salary is mostly funded by property tax, pays no property tax. Just an observation.

MyName 11 years, 4 months ago

Has anybody here just thought about the politics of the figure? Maybe the Regents added those buildings like Allen Fieldhouse, which are state buildings, to the figure to inflate it and grab a bigger headline even though they knew they might not get funding for it. Anyways, just a thought.

Godot 11 years, 4 months ago

MyName, you are right on target. Isn't it sad that the people we pay to manage our money would screw with us like that?

redbird 11 years, 4 months ago

To Fletch...yes it is the residence of the Chancellor,he does live there but has a fortress of solitude somewhere else in the area....There is a full time housekeeper and family stay there also... Yes it may be a historical building but a $1,000,000 for renovations???? Where is the justification of this kind of spediture?? It recently was professionally repainted,there may be other unseen things that need to be done....but $1,000,000 seen rather ridiculous figure,even the previous $500,00 seemed a little overboard!!! And yes kansasdaughter Facility Operations does do some remodeling,but there are plenty of projects that are done by contractors...but who is left to clean up the mess and maintain the buildings afterwards???And yes I agree the 15th St. project was mess,but FO along with contractors got the job done and on time... The Parking Dept. making a profit??They operate on their own funds and by state statutes cannot recieve neither taxpayer monies nor student funds.Their sole support is permit sales,paid parking at sports events and ticketing.Unfortunely the latter doesn't make them anyone's friend but they are just doing their job...A job that is also doctrined by a parking commission that passes down decisions on them on how they should operate,and by the way,there is no one in or from the parking dept on this commission!!!

So it may be relatively safe to say that they don't make a profit,however if memory serves me right the athletic department reported a profit that was several millions of dollars!!!

penguin 11 years, 4 months ago

MyName-the figures are a result of estimates from each campus in consultation with their architects/building management organizations. Then the Regents collected the figures from the campus on each building. It was not some vast conspiracy by the Regents to gain headlines. It was an assessment report of the state of all buildings on the regents campuses. (Also at the last Board of Regents meeting, the Universities were asked to pair their lists down to not include these facilities).

The 727 Million figures encompasses the entirety of the needed repairs on all building. However, even if you take it down to 600 million or so than that is right in line with a previous Legislative estimate. The 2005 Legislative Post Audit put the figure at 584 Million and this did not include those facilities. The 600 Million figure would represent buildings with academic purposes.

Also don't lay all the blame on KU. Look through the report WSU has Cessna Stadium on at 4 million and change, ESU has Welch Stadium on at 1.5 million, PSU has their football stadium and a number of repairs on a baseball stadium, and FHSU has Lewis Field on at 1 million. They put everything on the list, but I know many of these are on the list as a notice to the university too of a need to fix these problems.

Also the 1 Million Dollar figure for the Chancellor's House comes from the combination of items that make it up. The house itself is listed at 500K in repairs, but the Guest House and Garage are itemized seperately on the report. In addition, remodeling of historical buildings or around them usually pushes the pricetag up.

penguin 11 years, 4 months ago

Here is all the reports that have been done including the 2004 Board Audit, 2005 Legislative Post Audit and 2006 Legislative Audit.

They are a fun read...ok maybe not.

haspas 11 years, 4 months ago

I'm amazed no one thus far has mentioned a well-publicized legislative initiative in 1996 called "Crumblling Classrooms." The Legislature passed a large bond issue to repair and rebuild university classrooms. Additionally, every year the Legislature appropriates a significant sum of money to the regents institutions, and a specific amount is earmarked for Maintenance.

So----what has happened? Have we seen one news story dealing with this huge issue? I haven't seen it.

The Regents used a significant portion of the Crumbling Classrooms bond issue to CONSTRUCT NEW BUILDINGS, contrary to the purpose, and exacerbating the problem. This has the makings of a very big news story, but evidently no one has the courage to write about it.

My final observation---Fellow citizens, what is the function and role of the Board of Regents? Let's get this topic in the public discussion. It is hugely important, and no one seems to care. The result is NO OVERSIGHT on the Board of Regents.

The BOR certainly should NOT to be a source of negativty nor an obstacle to the University CEO's. But should they only be Suck-ups and Yes-Persons? The universities already have cheerleaders. They need reasonable, critical, questioning people on the Regents, but it certainly does not appear we have them............

If we just let this go, and watch the Legislature remove the athletic facilities (does anyone REALLY believe they thought that would stick?) and then brag they've cut 100 million---while moving full speed on 600 mil, then we deserve what we have----a Committee of Monarchs spending a huge amount of our money, with ZERO accountability.

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