$252 million projects explained by McCann

Analicia Haynes, Senior Reporter

Eastern has a $252 million deferred maintenance back log that has increased over the last year by $19 million and continues to grow.

Paul McCann, interim vice president for business affairs, explained what the deferred maintenance projects were, as the projects that the state calls “emergency projects” during a Council on University Planning and Budget meeting Nov. 1.

The breakdown comes after Eastern proposed several potential increases in several areas to Springfield for its fiscal year 2021 budget.

Of the increases, McCann said the university is requesting $1,344.7K for repair and maintenance of campus buildings and infrastructure to assist with reducing the growth of deferred maintenance.

However, this is only 6 percent of annual growth of deferred maintenance, he said.

“What we do is we look at the total cost of a building and how much square footage they have and then there are national averages of how much work needs to be done in those buildings,” McCann said. “So we factor those things in and we came up with (what we did) in 2018 (which was) a $252 million deferred maintenance back log that has increased over the last year by almost $19 million and that continues to grow.”

McCann said the administration has not really done anything to abate the deferred maintenance problem on campus because of the state.

The state also appropriated some money in the 2020 fiscal year what they call emergency projects, which is about $19 million, McCann said. However, the state has only released a small portion of that.

Some of the emergency projects include HVAC work in the life science building, which will cost $5.4 million. McCann said that project is still in design and will hopefully get started next summer because it has not been bid yet.

“It is still in that design phase, and it’s just going by slowly,” he said.

Other emergency projects include work on the McAfee Façade and the buildings clocktower, which will cost $275,000, fixing the Booth Library roof, which will cost $50,000; replacing an elevator at O’Brien Field, which will cost $1 million; and fixing the water main at the Physical Science Building, which will cost $75,000.

“Almost all of our buildings are getting old and many of the things like pipes and HVAC, heat, steam, gas, are wearing out so a lot of these projects relate to these types of things,” McCann said. “These are things that absolutely have to happen for us to remain vial.”

The total cost for all the emergency projects listed comes to $14.6 million.

“Those are emergency repairs. If we had cash today we’d do these things,” McCann said. “But we don’t. Could we get them out of the state? Maybe…but they haven’t released all of the money yet.”

McCann also talked about future capital projects, and the top item is a new science building. But, McCann said that is already out of date.

“We got appropriated $118 million. The cost of that building keeps going up. Unless we get it started, unless we get it going, we need another appropriation already to make sure that we don’t have to downgrade what we hope we can do with that building.”                                                                        

Therefore, McCann said the university is asking the state for another $5 million for that building in the 2021 budget.

The second of several items on the capital projects list is repairing the HVAC and plumbing systems in Coleman Hall, which will cost $2,012,005 million.

Overall, McCann said they are asking the state for a 6.6 percent increase in the state appropriation for 2021 and they hope that net tuition will also level out by 2021.

Logan Raschke contributed to this story.

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]