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.