Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

For Indiana's College Facilities Budget, Pence Proposes A Rebuilding Year

    Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

    Construction crews work on an addition and renovation of a building at the Kelley School of Business on the IU Bloomington campus. Private contributions and a grant from the Lilly Foundation funded the $60 million building project.

    Indiana lawmakers made an abrupt departure from the higher education building scene in 2011, zeroing out the state budget lines that funded building maintenance on public college campuses.

    Now, it appears Gov. Mike Pence wants to put building money back in the budget, calling for $37.9 million in “repair and rehabilitation” dollars for Indiana’s seven state universities in his proposed two-year state budget for 2013-15.

    Overall, that’s $8 million less than lawmakers budgeted for higher education facilities repairs in the 2009-11 biennium; $24 million less in so-called “General R&R” funding than in the ’07-09 budget. 

    State Money For General Building Repairs
    – FY2001-03 Budget: $65.3 million
    – FY2003-05 Budget: $25.5 million
    – FY2005-07 Budget: $51.1 million
    – FY2007-09 Budget: $62.0 million*
    – FY2009-11 Budget: $46.6 million
    – FY2011-13 Budget: $0
    – FY2013-15 Budget: $37.9 million (Gov. Pence proposal)

    * Above amounts reflect General R&R budget lines. In FY2007-09, the state’s colleges received an additional $62.4 million in deferred payments. This money was earmarked for repairing student housing.

    But the 2011-13 budget doesn’t even authorize the state’s colleges to sell bonds to fund new building projects — this after lawmakers authorized more than $510 million in such projects in 2009.

    In his budget proposal, Pence points out that in addition to calling for “new money for university capital improvement projects,” he also is requesting “the first new operational dollars for higher education since the reductions in the last two budgets.”

    Growing Fix-It Lists

    Purdue University officials say deferred maintenance is piling up at the state’s colleges.

    “Deferred R&R is not unique to Purdue. It is one of the most significant and growing facilities issues currently facing public higher education institutions,” university officials wrote in their state budget request this year, noting they’ve put off more than $573 million in R&R.

    In 2011, Indiana University estimated a $600 million R&R backlog.

    In the interim, universities have found other ways to fund building projects. For instance, private contributions and a Lilly Endowment grant completely funded a $60 million building project to renovate and expand undergraduate facilities at IU Bloomington’s Kelley School of Business.

    Additionally, both IU and Purdue charged students temporary fees earmarked to help cover the R&R shortfall.

    But Ball State University officials say state funding for building projects is key.

    “Significant reductions in state repair and rehabilitation funding during recent biennia have severely strained resources to maintain campus buildings and infrastructure,” Ball State officials write. 


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