by BRIAN ADDISON
Following passage in the State Legislature, local education leaders are looking to Governor Jerry Brown to seal the deal on AB 1476, an amendment to the FY 2014-2015 State Budget Bill that includes an additional $50M in one-time appropriations for the California State University system.
The funds will address much-needed facilities maintenance issues that have increasingly raised safety concerns; for example, Cal State Long Beach (CSULB)’s $318M in deferred maintenance needs.
According to CSULB spokesperson Terri Carbaugh, roughly $62M is needed to repair and modernize the university’s utilities infrastructure, including storm water systems, natural gas distribution, high voltage distribution and sewer upgrades. The other $256M is needed for deferred maintenance projects associated with plumbing and electrical systems, ADA upgrades, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning. In order to fully address all these issues, CSULB would need $22M in annual funding.
“Deferred maintenance projects currently are funded by the university with periodic capital project assistance from the CSU Chancellor’s Office,” Carbaugh said. “The Chancellor’s Office has a five-year critical infrastructure funding plan that would allocate CSULB $5.4M in the 2014-15 fiscal year, $5M in the 2015-16 fiscal year and $6.5M each year through 2019-20. This funding scenario leaves the university with a $13M annual gap in necessary funding to address deferred maintenance projects.”
The funds are needed not just for maintenance, but in order to save the CSU from more exorbitant costs in the future. At San Francisco State University alone, a science building closure displaced 10,000 students, staff, and faculty and will now cost between $100M and $200M to either repair or replace.
“When we talk about access to the CSU, most think of it as simply receiving an acceptance letter and beginning coursework,” said California State Student Association President Daniel Clark. “What is also included, and more related to student success and completion of a degree, is access to quality, safe, and contemporary classrooms, lab space, and libraries. Students who are able to learn in a 21st Century environment are able to contextualize their academic experience, connect theoretical concepts to practical application, and think more critically as future members of the workforce.”
[Source]: Long Beach Post