March 21, 2000

Contact: Bob Bruce, 503-725-5714
Source: Lynda Swanson, 541-346-5707

Public Universities' Deferred Maintenance Exceeds $420 Million

EUGENE -- An updated study shows that Oregon's public universities face a backlog in deferred maintenance totaling more than $420 million, or about 20 percent of current replacement value.

That amounts to an average of 12 years of unfunded capital repair for each of the seven campuses of the Oregon University System.

"Each campus has its own constellation of issues," says Lynda Swanson, OUS director of capital construction planning and budget.

The combination of increased enrollments, aging buildings, facilities mismatched to changing curriculum, new technological requirements for distance education, the need to house new programs and few state dollars for capital construction, she says, pose a growing problem for Oregon's public university campuses.

"We're boxed in," says Swanson. "Our analysis says 'improve facilities quickly to respond both to these need and to student demand.' Our funding picture says "without substantial new funds, we can't get from here to

Swanson, who outlined the magnitude of the problem for members of the State Board of Higher Education last week, said the new figures come from an update to a study done for OUS in 1998 the Pacific Partners Consulting Group.

Excluding campus housing, the study analyzed about 90 percent of OUS facilities, including buildings supported by state tax funds, student fees and large-scale athletic complexes. It looked at a variety of facility conditions and building systems, assessing the condition of roofs, exterior and interior
finishes, heating and air conditioning, plumbing, elevators, electrical and fire protection systems, painting and built-in equipment. 

The assessment found electrical equipment and heating-ventilating systems to have the greatest deferred maintenance need across all of Oregon's public university campuses at an estimated total replacement cost of $123 million.

By campus, the deferred needs were estimated to range from a high of 26 percent of current replacement value at Portland State University to a low of 7 percent of current replacement value at Eastern Oregon University, La Grande.

Total need by campus was set at $131 million for Oregon State University, Corvallis; $98 million, University of Oregon, Eugene; $91 million, Portland State University; $22 million, Southern Oregon University, Ashland; $15 million, Oregon Institute of Technology, Klamath Falls; $13 million, Western Oregon University, Monmouth; and $6 million, Eastern Oregon University, La Grande.

The 1998 study calculated that some $3.8 million would be needed each year to cover capital repair needs of basic academic buildings on the campuses. But even with full funding, the backlog would 10 years. The
range varied from slightly more than 4 years at EOU to more than 12 years at PSU.

Those figures have now been updated by OUS officials. The updated figures calculate current deferred maintenance at more than $420 million. They estimate yearly capital repair need at $47.5 million and peg the overall backlog at 12 years, or about 20 percent of current replacement value.

In addition, a study of campus housing units has found similar need among student residence facilities. That study shows the total deferred maintenance need at more than $76 million and says $10 million is needed per year for capital repair. It estimates the housing backlog at 7.5 years, or about 15 percent of current replacement value.

The total number of buildings held by all seven OUS campuses is about 600, representing roughly 20,000 gross square feet of sheltered space. Altogether, these structures represent 40 percent of all state-owned buildings in Oregon and have a current replacement value of about $3 billion.

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