Advertisement

Archive for Monday, August 11, 2008

Tax credits for university repairs slow to catch on

Workers Rick Ayers, Eudora, left, and Jeremy McGuire, Topeka, are part of the construction crew for Phase One of the deferred maintenance plan at Kansas University. KU and other Board of Regents schools are offering tax credits to donors who will contribute funds for maintenance.

Workers Rick Ayers, Eudora, left, and Jeremy McGuire, Topeka, are part of the construction crew for Phase One of the deferred maintenance plan at Kansas University. KU and other Board of Regents schools are offering tax credits to donors who will contribute funds for maintenance.

August 11, 2008

Advertisement

A construction crew works on replacing the maintenance tunnels that run throughout the Kansas University campus. KU has millions of dollars worth of maintenance needs on its Lawrence campus and can offer tax credits to donors who put up funds for repairs.

A construction crew works on replacing the maintenance tunnels that run throughout the Kansas University campus. KU has millions of dollars worth of maintenance needs on its Lawrence campus and can offer tax credits to donors who put up funds for repairs.

Owners of old homes know the headaches that can come with aging buildings.

Faulty electricity, leaky pipes and creaky floors.

Now, consider the scope of those problems on an aging 1,000-acre campus, with at least 40 buildings more than 20 years old and hundreds of thousands of people using the buildings every year.

That's what Kansas University maintenance has to deal with.

"(Maintenance) is necessary," KU Endowment Association President Dale Seuferling said. "But it's something that there's no history of people giving money to."

Which is why on July 1, the association began offering tax abatements for donors wishing to help out with the steadily growing backlog of projects on KU's Lawrence campus.

In this year's legislative session, lawmakers approved $158 million in tax credits over five years for all Kansas Board of Regents universities and Washburn University, including $1.5 million for those wanting to help KU with its maintenance woes.

So far, the program hasn't quite caught on.

"It's not like we have a group of donors who have traditionally given money in the past to something like this," Seuferling said. "So, we don't really have an idea quite yet on how well this will work."

Adding to the difficulty, Seuferling said, was that for a donation to have any real effect on deferred maintenance, the smallest donation that can be accepted is $5,000.

So, just how big is the problem?

Jim Modig, KU design and construction manager, said the list of deferred maintenance projects totaled around $150 million and would take years to complete.

For the university to simply keep up with needed maintenance, it would need to spend around $30 million a year. Currently, KU receives $6 million a year from the regents for deferred maintenance, and an additional $4 million from the university.

If the tax abatements do inspire more people to invest in deferred maintenance, Modig said the university would need to receive close to $20 million a year. To actually make a dent in the laundry list of decaying infrastructure, Modig said at least several million more would be needed.

"It's one of those things that you can never get ahead of," he said. "As long as there are buildings aging on campus, there will be repairs that have to be done."

Regents Chairwoman Donna Shank said she hoped the tax credit would entice more people to donate money to fixing existing problems, especially considering tighter budget years on the horizon.

"With revenues looking the way they are at the state level, there's not going to be extra money for anything," she said.

Comments

charlesyu 6 years, 2 months ago

Maybe the Endowment can arrange for no interest loans and pledged gifts from defrocked energy company CEO's to help repair the buildings.

0

Phillbert 6 years, 2 months ago

Yes, because your inaccurate claims that KU is spending money on hotels and that it costs $80K to go to KU (even when your own figures don't add up to that much) would lead anyone to conclude that you're living "in reality, not fantasyland."

0

oldvet 6 years, 2 months ago

"It seems that alumni are more interested in football bragging rights than taking care of academic space."Maybe they remember where they had the most fun in their college days, rather than sitting in front of some arrogant, liberal-biased professor...

0

Bruce Bertsch 6 years, 2 months ago

Sorry labmonkey, but the football facility was built with private funds by donors to the Athletic Department, not university funds.

0

akuna 6 years, 2 months ago

The point of giving money to athletics is exposure. The more exposure the more money comes in for BOTH athletics and academics. I don't have a problem with athletics getting their due, after all they had a pretty ficken amazing year. Champions deserve to have the best. That is part of the American Dream. For all of you Republican haters, maybe all this money given to the fat cats will trickle its way down to the arrogant, liberal-biased professors. Ha!And if you really want KU academics to be stronger, give money. After all KU helps keep the Lawrence and state economy strong. Money that jingles is nice, money that folds is better.

0

akuna 6 years, 2 months ago

Logarithmic.If you are going to make a claim that KU is helping build the Oread Inn, you must show proof. Otherwise you are just trolling.

0

labmonkey 6 years, 2 months ago

And how much is going for a new practice facility? I'm sure KU has the similar problem of Pittstate where (for example), they spent 9 million on expanding their stadium, yet cadaver fluid leaks in their science building. Academics should be first, sports second.

0

FatTony 6 years, 2 months ago

Logrithmic, Get your numbers straight, four years of tuition are not even close to $80,000 for in state students, entering freshman for fall 2008, its under $3500 per semester, thats $28,000. Out of Staters pay more sure, but then again they would do so at everywhere else if they weren't a resident of that state.

0

crimsonlaugh 6 years, 2 months ago

The donors CHOOSE where they give their money and more people end up giving to athletics because it's more exciting than building repair.So, they're encouraging donations for the deferred maintainance. That's kind of the point of the article...

0

J Good Good 6 years, 2 months ago

The point is that private funds have to be spent on whatever the donor allots them to. It seems that alumni are more interested in football bragging rights than taking care of academic space.

0

Chris Ogle 6 years, 2 months ago

Interesting that the workers in the photo are from Topeka, and Eudora. Wonder if anyone working on that project (here in Lawrence) can afford to live in Lawrence.

0

oldvet 6 years, 2 months ago

"Oh, college is about having fun and not learning? Typical rightwing kneejerk response."typical arrogant liberal whining... ask 100 graduates from the class of 2008 what were the three most memorable events from their college days... they might list some class they took as the third choice pick, following the National Championship and the Orange Bowl Championship... and that is what they will remember over the years... that they were here when it happened. And they will probably contribute to the athletic funds in the future...

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.