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Comments about ‘In our opinion: Deferred maintenance costs for university buildings can balloon without proper planning’

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Published: Sunday, May 18 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

As long as the U will spend $60 M on a law bldg. that should have been $45 M or $130 M on a 200,000 SF USTAR bldg. that should have been at least 25% less they have no one to blame but themselves. They really should tour the Granger High School and see that buildings don't have to cost over $200 per square foot.

re: the Power, they have been acting like their own power plant getting power at wholesale. Instead of charging retail and using the money for maintenance, they were charging the same price and ignoring the difference, expecting a bailout by the State that they have been lobbying for years.

They were to change the rates for the power so that after the initial amount was paid it, the state wouldn't have to pay all $99 M for their short sightedness. If they are back asking for the full amount, they are paying their lobbyist and still not changing their actions.

I for one hope the Utah Leg. says no. They have been told for several years that they can't just build buildings without budgeting for maintenance.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

This is a major problem at universities -- no one wants to put their name on something "intangible" such as an endowment fund for electricity and water consumption.

Another problem facing the universities is salary compression where long-time faculty make tens of thousands of dollars less than their newer colleagues simply because there's no money for adequate merit pay and as those faculty leave, universities have to pay market salaries to attract replacements. How do you get donors to want to fund an endowment for merit pay or faculty retention?

Finally, with the fast growth of online courses and the lack of need for university buildings, universities are likely to have lots of empty buildings going forward. Maybe they can rent these facilities out for weddings and parties.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

Deferred maintenance has been our approach to all kinds of public infrastructure for years. It's going to cost us dearly in the future.
As long as we can only see government as the enemy, and taxes as something that must be reduced, we'll always prioritise maintenance down.

high school fan
Huntington, UT

It is never easy being a landlord. It is surprising that the university does not sit some money aside for yearly maintainence since they kind of own the buildings.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

We need to face 2 facts:

1. Our taxes are at completely unsustainable levels. They need to be raised!

2. The wealth hoarding at the top needs to end. In order for the rest of us to pay more in taxes we need to have huge increases in pay and benefits. The wealthy can either voluntarily share their wealth via pay raises and benefits increase or see it redistributed via higher taxes, especially capital gains and estate taxes.

Our universities, infrastructure, ability to defend ourselves against foreign enemies, and our own standard of living is at risk.

casual observer
Salt Lake City, UT

Lots of new expensive athletic facilities while the academic part of the university decays. Sounds like a matter of priorities. Don't ask the tax payers to pony up.

SR71
Buena Vista, VA

It sure is good that wealthy people are generous to donate their money, but it would be even better if they would donate to what needs donating to, rather than just having their name on a building to be seen of men. Just a bit of let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing, or vice versa. I know a lot of people who are not rich, and cannot donate millions, but do donate their time and talents, in a big way, and do not expect to see their name up in lights as a result. Someday, God will reward them openly.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: ". . . higher education can get quickly enamored with shiny new capital expenditures and lose sight of the far less glamorous requirement to maintain existing infrastructure."

Or the even less glamorous requirement -- and calling -- to educate students.

Big Ed has become nothing more than a hustle. A scam that favors its new nobility -- "educators" and administrators -- at the expense of the students they claim to serve, and parents and taxpayers that foot the bill.

Sad.

Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

The State already pays between 3/4 and $1 Billion to Higher Ed each year. That money could go for public ed K-12. Higher Ed should be realize they could loose that if they keep wasting it.

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