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Kansas universities attack their deferred maintenance backlog

Kansas universities attack their deferred maintenance backlog
Kansas universities attack their deferred maintenance backlog

Through the recession and slow recovery, universities throughout Kansas suffered from serious deferred maintenance backlogs that led to the degradation of many assets and facilities. Now, however, it appears a solution has been developed that will save many of these schools' major assets from deteriorating.

According to the Lawrence Journal World, officials from these institutions say that for years they have been struggling to deal with the deferred maintenance problems. This stems from the laundry list of necessary repairs to hundreds of buildings across several campuses that have been consistently put off due to lack of funds.

In the 1960s and the 1980s, there was a boom in education throughout Kansas, with several buildings constructed in that period. For example, 40 percent of regents' university buildings were built then, and have not received the proper campus maintenance in recent years.

Back in 2007, Kansas lawmakers attempted to solve the crisis by creating a funding package that would be used to perform the necessary upgrades, however many said the measure did not have enough weight to fix the issue. These critics were proven right in time.

Between 2008 and 2011, the amount of deferred maintenance backlogs at Kansas schools continued to grow from $825 million to $904 million. Last year, however, appears to have marked a change in the tides, with deferred backlogs down to about $800 million.

"We have seen a significant decrease in our backlog," said King. "What I think it is we are seeing is the money pumped into this has really made a difference."

King added that during the low economy, low bids were made by contractors on work that had previously not been purchased, while about $46 million in federal funds were used to chip away at the deferred maintenance problem.

According to Springfield News-Leader, the problem isn't limited to Kansas. At Missouri State University, about $105 million in deferred maintenance exists at the school's three campuses.

Any campus maintenance project must comply with standards established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Keeping an accurate record of all maintenance projects will help streamline the process of an OSHA inspection, if it should occur. 

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