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Archive for Friday, January 26, 2007

Lawmakers grapple with university repairs

January 26, 2007

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— Lawmakers on Thursday wrestled with the issue of paying for hundreds of millions of dollars in repairs at public universities, hoping to get a plan together next week.

"We need a multiyear plan, and the needs are significant," said state Sen. Jean Kurtis Schodorf, R-Wichita, chairwoman of a Senate task force working on the issue.

The six Kansas Board of Regents universities have said they have a backlog of approximately $660 million in needed repairs, many of which are critical to the schools' operations.

Community colleges have weighed in with a list of $150 million worth of maintenance, and major state office buildings are in line for significant renovations.

"We have nearly a $1.5 billion deferred maintenance problem. This problem is never going to go away," said state Sen. David Wysong, R-Mission Hills.

Wysong said the state needed to dedicate a steady source of funding for repairs.

Other legislators said the universities also need to establish trust funds for repairs and actively seek private donations.

Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, said some of the buildings are in such disrepair, it may be better to build new facilities than try to rehabilitate old ones.

"I don't think we should be pouring state funding into rehabilitation for buildings that would be cheaper to replace," said Francisco, who works as a space analyst at Kansas University.

Schodorf said she hoped the task force would have a recommendation for the full Senate by Wednesday. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius also has vowed to unveil a plan by the end of the month.

Comments

oldgoof 7 years, 6 months ago

Since when are the maintenance needs of local buildings (community colleges) responsibilities of the state? ? ? . The State should take care of State buildings. The cities should take care of city buildings. etc. And the communities who chose to have community colleges should take care of their own buildings.

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Godot 7 years, 6 months ago

Francisco is right. Build new buildings, and let the endowment associations raise the money for the buildings, put the donors' names on the buildings, and require that a maintenance fund be established for each endowment funded building.

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Wilbur_Nether 7 years, 6 months ago

oldgoof, the community colleges and technical schools are part of the Regents system. They are State institutions, not local. Their budgets are State budgets, not local budgets. This has been true at least since the Kansas Higher Education Coordination Act of 1999. See page 113 of this document. http://budget.ks.gov/publications/FY2007/FY2007_Governors_Budget_Report_Volume1.pdf

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yourworstnightmare 7 years, 6 months ago

oldgoof,

All buildings of regent's institutions and community colleges are property of the state.

The state (legislature) has been shirking its responsibility with regard to these properties.

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