Budget / Facilities Management

CMU has $100 million in deferred maintenance projects, board approves to maintain $5.7-million budget

Some facilities in need of upgrades on campus could luck out in the near future.

The board of trustees on Thursday agreed to funnel $5.7 million into deferred maintenance and $1.4 million into the classroom improvement fund during its regular meeting.

University President George Ross said the board has not decreased the deferred maintenance budget when facing cuts, but “$5.7 million is not enough” to fund all the projects.

Ross said there are more than 100 buildings on campus totaling 7.5 million square feet and some of them are more than 50 years old.

“Think of it in these terms: It’s like your house,” he said. “If you don’t maintain it and something breaks, you have to fix it except we have 7.5 million square feet of space to fix.”

Steve Lawrence, associate vice president of Facilities Management, said there are 38 different project areas that will be funded with the deferred maintenance budget, including masonry and elevator maintenance.

It takes months to identify and decide which projects need to be funded over others, he said, and multiple players contribute to that process.

“We receive input from many people throughout the year,” Lawrence said.

Sarah Opperman, board of trustees chairwoman, said the deferred maintenance fund is preventative maintenance.

“(When) you keep your properties and your facilities in good shape, it’s a lot less costly to do that than it is to wait until something is in such disrepair you have to replace it,” she said. “Yes, it’s money, but it’s money that is actually better spent because it avoids (more expensive repairs).”

The amount of requests submitted to Facilities Management to include in the deferred maintenance fund totaled $33 million, Lawrence said.

“We have to prioritize that down to our $5.7-million budget,” he said.

Ross said the total deferred maintenance on campus is in excess of $100 million.

“If we had it, we’d spend it to keep (repairing) buildings,” Ross said. “We canvass the whole campus, to try and figure out within this $5.7 million, what we really need to do because we can’t do it all.”

Central Michigan University insures its facilities for more than $1 billion, he said.

Classroom upgrades

Ten classrooms will be modernized this summer as part of the classroom improvement project, which the board voted to allocate $1.4 million to support.

Summer 2011 is the fourth summer this program has been in place.

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