Topeka The backlog of maintenance and repair projects at the state’s public universities continues to increase, although it fell slightly at Kansas University, according to a report released Thursday.
The deferred maintenance backlog for 2010 was $876 million, which is $51 million or 6 percent higher than in 2008. The backlog was $663 million in 2006.
“As any homeowner knows, routine maintenance and repair gets more expensive to fix the longer it’s deferred,” said Kansas Board of Regents Chairman Gary Sherrer of Overland Park.
“Because these buildings are a critical state asset, whose quality ultimately attracts or deters students, it’s critical this issue remains an ongoing priority,” Sherrer said.
The dollar amount of the backlog would have been even higher but the economic downturn held down construction, labor and material costs, the report said.
In 2007, legislators approved a five-year plan to address the problem. So far, about $63.7 million in state funds and $45.8 million in federal stimulus funds have been allocated for projects. Nearly 100 maintenance projects have been approved, 79 initiated and 42 completed. The projects include improvements to utility tunnels, waterlines, electrical systems, boiler replacements, Americans with Disability Act improvements and re-roofing.
The report said that $92 million is needed each year to stop the list of projects from growing. Only $52 million was available in the last fiscal year.
Kansas State University has the most extensive deferred maintenance backlog: $314.3 million, up from $290.6 million in 2008. KU’s $298.9 million in projects is down from 2008, when there was $316.5 million.
The backlog for the rest of the schools includes $79.5 million at Pittsburg State; $73.4 million at Wichita State; $57.1 million at Emporia State; and $52.5 million at Fort Hays State.
There are 818 state-owned buildings on state university campuses, encompassing 26,214 acres, with a replacement value of $7.3 billion, the report said.
Approximately 40 percent of these buildings were built between the 1960s and 1980s, and the average life cycle of heating, ventilation, electrical and plumbing systems is about 23 years.