Ward Edwards’ leaky roof may be a thing of the past if deferred maintenance funding stays in the state’s higher education budgetThe budget, as it stands, would provide each state university with $1 million in deferred maintenance funding.
Gov. Mike Parson outlined his requests for higher education funding during his State of the State address Jan. 16, according to an email sent by President Roger Best Feb. 14. Parson requested a total $20 million in deferred maintenance funding for all universities in the state, where each university would receive $2 million.
Rep. Dan Houx, R-Warrensburg, said the governor’s requests served as a “wish list” budget. Houx said the House Budget Committee is responsible for producing 19 separate budget bills, which contain funding for different parts of the state. House Bill 3 is responsible for higher education funding.
According to the modified bill text, the committee settled on providing each state university with $1 million in deferred maintenance funding from the General Revenue Fund, instead of the $2 million requested by Parson. The University of Missouri System — which consists of four separate campuses — is also due to only receive $1 million in total deferred maintenance funding.
Attempts to contact Rep. Dean Dohrman, R-La Monte, chairman of the Higher Education Committee, were unsuccessful by press time.
Best, in his email, said the university currently has more than $20 million in identified deferred maintenance projects, which does not include residence halls.
“Funding for deferred maintenance is critical,” Best said. “At UCM, we currently have more than $20 million in deferred maintenance (identified) not including our Residence Halls (which operate as an auxiliary unit.)”
Best said in an interview that the funding would be used to improve roofs. He said the Ward Edwards roof would get top priority due to its age and damage.
“In order of priority, it would be the Ward Edwards’ roof, which is close to 20 years old and is leaking,” Best said. “If you were to go into Ward Edwards 2010, the classroom, you’ll see a lot of water stains on the ceiling tiles.”
Best said the university has spent a lot of money repairing internal damage in Ward Edwards caused by the leaks.
Tim Castilaw, associate vice president of capital planning and facilities management, said priority is based on several facets.
“Priorities are developed based on the asset’s function, life safety impact, purpose and use, life cycle age, consequence of failure, program impact and cost and alignment with the campus strategic plan,” Castilaw said.
Best said priority also goes to repairing or replacing items that cost the most to maintain annually.
“On a year-over-year basis, if the roof keeps leaking in Ward Edwards and it’s costing us tens of thousands of dollars to fix the damage, then it makes a lot of sense to go ahead and repair that as your one priority and you wipe out that year-over-year expenditure,” he said.
Castilaw said the university is assessing the condition of facilities to help solve the problem of deferred maintenance.
“We are engaged in assessing the condition of the campus facilities and developing deferred maintenance and capital renewal schedules to apply to future budgeting as well as continuously striving to improve operating efficiencies generating funding for deferred maintenance needs,” he said.
Best said there are reserves in place for emergencies, such as catastrophic failures of systems like roofs and HVAC equipment. He said the Board of Governors oversees the reserves.
Best said the university had to dip into reserves earlier this semester when the rooftop HVAC units at Panhellenic Hall failed.
Although deferred maintenance can be curbed by planning and preventive maintenance, maintenance issues and system failures are never completely eliminated.
“Unfortunately with anything you build — obviously buildings or the track or the football stadium — you’re going to have maintenance in it and you need to build that within your system,” Houx said. “It was very nice of the governor and the Budget Committee to give at least some money to the university… Obviously they do a deferred maintenance plan at the university but accidents happen. An air conditioner goes out, a pipe underground fails and sometimes it’s things that you can’t account for. To have those extra monies is a great thing.”