- Boardof Regents changes expected (06-04-07)
- Universityrepairs planned now that funds approved (05-06-07)
- Deferredmaintenance plan clears House (05-06-07)
- Senate'srepair plan rejected by House (04-28-07)
- Nosolution in sight to fund deferred maintenance (04-21-07)
- Senatehas $525M plan for universities (04-20-07)
- Houseannounces plan to fund repairs (04-19-07)
- Regentsrepairs will require a lot of dough (04-18-07)
Topeka A new plan to address a backlog of repairs at state universities hasn't even started - and already calls for more money have been raised.
"This is probably not enough," Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said earlier this week, as a House-Senate committee and the Kansas Board of Regents started mapping out a repair and renovation plan.
During the legislative session that ended last month, lawmakers approved a package that provides approximately $380 million in extra funding, tax breaks and loans to make repairs at state universities, community colleges and technical schools.
But House Bill 2237 fell far short of the $663 million that state universities said they needed, in addition to the $150 million requested by community colleges. Kansas University's "mission critical" backlog alone was $181 million for the Lawrence campus and KU Medical Center.
The backlog of projects has formed, university officials have said, because of underfunding.
As efforts get under way to fix priority projects, leaders said the so-called deferred maintenance problem will only worsen in coming years, even with the new plan.
"Quite honestly, passage of House Bill 2237 doesn't resolve this whole issue," said Sen. Dwayne Umbarger, R-Thayer, chairman of the Senate budget-writing committee.
"It's a step in the right direction, but this debate will continue," he said.
In the fiscal year that starts July 1, the legislation will add $30 million to the already standard $15 million for a total of $45 million to address deferred maintenance projects.
Eric King, director of facilities for the regents, said universities need $84 million each year to keep up with maintenance projects.
"We're going to be back in deferred maintenance," King said.
While additional funds will be needed to avoid another deferred maintenance backlog, King said, the regents will be working with schools to improve management and use of facilities.
Later this month the regents are scheduled to adopt a formal five-year project, which will be reviewed by legislators in July.