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Archive for Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Maintenance funds

A Kansas University donor has set an important example by including maintenance funding in his generous gift to build a new scholarship hall.

September 5, 2007

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An endowed maintenance fund for a new Kansas University scholarship hall should set the standard for other campus buildings financed by private donors.

Later this month, the university will announce that Carl Krehbiel, a Moundridge resident who donated $4 million to build KU's 12th scholarship hall, also will give the university an additional $400,000 to endow a fund to provide money for ongoing maintenance at the hall.

This isn't the first time a donor has provided ongoing funding for a KU building, but it doesn't happen as often as it should. More often, donor funds are used to construct and perhaps furnish a building that then is turned over to the state, which becomes responsible for its operation and maintenance.

This fact is not lost on state legislators as they consider the large backlog of maintenance needs on state university campuses. Although the state is grateful for the generous private donations that provide new campus structures, universities also must be mindful of the additional strain those buildings will place on their maintenance budgets.

Krehbiel, who served in the Kansas Legislature from 1999 to 2006, probably was more aware than most donors of the maintenance issues facing state universities. Rather than allow the hall that will honor his KU alumni parents to fall into disrepair or struggle for maintenance funding, he decided to endow an accompanying fund to provide for that maintenance.

In this case the maintenance fund is equal to 10 percent of the project's cost. That's not an insignificant amount, but it's a donation university officials must be willing to solicit for other projects if they are to avoid adding to their schools' maintenance backlog. Even if the cost of actual construction must be reduced, all privately funded projects should include money for ongoing maintenance needs.

Chancellor Robert Hemenway agreed, in discussing the additional Krehbiel gift. When the university receives donations for new buildings, he said, "we also should be asking for money to maintain them."

This certainly is the prudent course for the state, the university and the private donors. Congratulations to Krehbiel and KU officials for setting an important precedent for other state universities and their donors.

Comments

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 3 months ago

With endowments such as this, maybe the universities will stop crying for hundred$ of million$ to fix, as the sympathetic media likes to spin it, "crumbling classrooms."

Godot 7 years, 3 months ago

Hopefully with a new building, maintenance will be minimal in the early years. With the reported 20% return the endowment claims to earn, that $400,000 will grow to a very sizeable fund in a short time. This 10% for maintenance is something that the legislature should require of all building endowments. Make it law.

shockchalk 7 years, 3 months ago

With endowments such as this, maybe the State legislature, who is supposed to provide funding for maintenance in ALL state buildings, will stop crying for someone else to "fix" the problem. Thank goodness the media reported the condition of the "crumbling classrooms." And finally, thank goodness the University of Kansas has adopted this idea of funding for future maintenance when a new building is built!

penguin 7 years, 3 months ago

I like how everyone thinks this was KU's idea. It was not.

The Board of Regents last year made this a sort of policy last year. They set forth the requirement that any new buildings must have a deferred maintenance plan of sorts. This requirement might not yet be adopted as part of board policy, but it was being worked in. Therefore, new University buildings without a maintenance plan would essentially be rejected by the BOR.This was how the BOR stepped around the argument that this would be a never-ending problem at the state universities. As many of you might remember that was one of the key arguments against attacking the deferred maintenance problem. Ahh how short people's memories are on these issues.

shockchalk 7 years, 3 months ago

I like how everyone thinks this didn't have anything to do with KU. At all costs, let's make sure we continue to blame the State universities for the legislatures lack of planning. As many of you might remember, Reggie Robinson, a BOR member, was a KU administrator prior to his appointment. KU has been meeting with the BOR about this never-ending problem for years, not just this past legislative session. Ahh, how short people's facts are on these issues.

shockchalk 7 years, 3 months ago

At least KU is trying to fix the problem instead of sticking their heads in the sand like the State legislature did for years!

imastinker 7 years, 3 months ago

Universities are the problem, not legislature. Why should taxpayers have to keep paying for these buildings all voer campus when we have a maintenance backlog? We have this going up, a pharmacy building on west campus, , the football building, the Multicultural resource center, whatever they are doing up there with the gateways and guard shacks on the road.

Did I miss anything?

shockchalk 7 years, 3 months ago

The only thing you missed was the truth and the real jproblem which is the LEGISLATURE, NOT the University of Kansas. The little guardshack will disappear soon and I think you could take it to the mountains if you can talk them into it. The new guard shack already got smacked by a bus or it would probably be open.

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