Comments about ‘Headed for the cliff? University of Utah maintenance backlog tops $400 million’

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Published: Saturday, May 17 2014 4:15 p.m. MDT

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Smith River, CA

The University should use the students to repair the campus. Pay them and give them job training.

Plano, TX

Do the obvious; reduce the need for physical infrastructure by using more on-line teaching and lecturing over the internet and shedding facility focused historical practices. Weed out outdated facilities and don't replace them. These would also reduce your road use, parking, shuttle bus, pollution etc.

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

rlsintx, that would be fine if everyone would complete their online courses. Current data shows that 87% of online courses are not completed. That doesn't sound like a winning strategy to me.

Mark from Montana
Davis County, UT

Instead of getting money from Huntsman to build a new basketball center, get him to fund some maintenance. The U could even put his name on the side of a water tower, electrical box or on the pot holes he paid to be fixed.

My guess is that Huntsman would actually donate money to fix things, but the U is more worried about a new basketball center than keeping things working properly. It is a university, a place of learning and training for the future, but instead too many 'leaders' are interested in sports than education.

Gilbert, AZ

These are all great recommendations in the comment section. I would add that if they got rid of the athletic department they would save millions that could be put towards education. Priorities. Education over athletics.

Syracuse, UT

Why don't they just get the money from all their mighty sports programs championships from the PAC 10+u? Or does this mean that they can't use all that money coming in to help repair what they already have. Sounds like it could be a little bit of counting their chickens before they hatch thinking that they would rule the conference of champions and get all the money they need.

Say No to BO
Mapleton, UT

Don't look now, but somebody has their hand out to the taxpayers AGAIN!
The real meaning of HIGHER education is that it has priced itself out of the market. When government steps in, competition ceases. It costs more and more and they've killed off the very things that keep prices low.
So, now we have grads with worthless degrees and a boatload of debt...and still it is not enough to feed the albatross.
But this is government, not a free market. And we will continue to pay more with no end in sight.

Salt Lake City, UT

The sports programs combined take in more money than they spend...

...by about 5-10 million if I recall correctly so it's not enough to take care of all infrastructure needs by itself.


It does seem a shame that new football and basketball centers are built when general upkeep is neglected. Isn't education a bigger priority than sports? How many students at the school? 30,000? How many football players, 120? How many basketball players, 40 total (mens and womens)? I love college sports but come on....buildings are falling apart??

Plano, TX

Kings Court - just as a data point; adopting what I wrote wouldn't uninformed, ill thought trials or be leading a parade at this point in time - they'd call it catching up.

My son-in-law is a full professor at a major university in Texas. His office hours are by video connection only. My son who lives on campus has classes each semester where online video link attendance is mandatory and attendance is taken - same with out of class work sessions with other students, all done via net with mandatory video.

Adapt or fail, the world has been adapting these approaches for at least 10 years now.

Regarding % of students who don't complete - flunk them out, there's a good chance their employers won't be providing them a cube of office either for good portion of their career. Xerox and many others actively try to shed office space wherever possible for profit reasons.

I just retired and worked via internet most of the last 11 years - companies do this because facility costs eat your profit margin. Schools are little different, but it's the way of the world for many industries now.

Springville, UT

With all of the construction going on at BYU I'm guessing they don't have these infrastructure problems to the tune of $400 million.

I'm sure my 'fair' and voluntary tax contribution will be going up to support this U of U fiasco and other government boondoggles.

Sugar City, ID

I don't understand the relationship between university athletics and education. Perhaps the legislature could pass a law stating that the inter school athletic program at all state supported universities and colleges should be self-sustaining. Then the taxpayer wouldn't have to pay for these programs that don't have anything to do with education.

Highland , UT


"The sports programs combined take in more money than they spend..."

No they don't, which makes this even worse. The athletic programs at the university of utah run about a 10 million dollar DEFICIT every year although they cook the books and claim they don't by appropriating money from students and the school itself to cover the shortfall.

So that is approximately 10 million more per year that should be used for the upkeep of educational facilities that instead is used to subsidize the money losing athletic program. The on top of that they are currently going on an athletic facility building binge to the tune of several hundred million dollars that will create even more facilities the university cannot afford to maintain. It is an absolute ripoff.

Oh and pocyute, if the university of utah is not owned by the state then why is the state paying for all of this? yes I know you'll read this and yes I know you'll keep trying to pretend the university is somehow seperate and it's money doesn't belong to the state. This article pretty much buries all of your false points on this subject.

Layton, UT

On the other hand, the U is growing by leaps and bounds! They are definitely a good fit in the PAC 12.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

They should have the students "volunteer" to clean the buildings. They can cut the janitorial staff and put that savings in to repairing the buildings.

Vancouver, WA

A maintenance back log of $400 million yet they spend millions on upgrading sports facilities? I think the University of Utah has their priorities mixed up. The Utes sports programs are garbage anyways...I say cut out the sports and put the money where it matters.

Layton, UT

The outcry from happy valley is to drop college sports and support education. I wonder why? lol.

Salt Lake City, UT

RE: rlsintx, Plano TX
"I just retired and worked via internet most of the last 11 years - companies do this because facility costs eat your profit margin."
There is a major corporation in your town that did just that - had employees work from home and ditched real estate. That company is now reversing course because they found that face to face collaboration has a benefit that online meetings cannot provide.

I hope you're not suggesting that the future of universities is primarily online. IMO, that is not the best education. A great example of online failure is this article. Many commenters seem to think the issue is due to new construction and sports programs. Had they READ the article, they would understand the real cause.

Park City, UT


Care to explain how a school that is so financially independent is $400 million in the red in the deferred maintenance?

Sounds like the U's priorities are seriously flawed.

Instead of carelessly spending millions on shiny new football and basketball facilities, maybe "research" U should be spending the money on maintaining their crumbling science buildings.

Taylorsville, UT

Since government education produce no tangible products to sell is why government has a tax and budget from of financing to provide limited services to the public. They have no right to profit for the services rendered when we pay taxes. Every government agency granted a budget the includes building maintenance and repairs but it always gets misappropriated in fraudulent use. A budget means that is their total financial limit and shutdown is an accountable criminal failure.

It all proves that government is bad business and should never have been turned into business like operations. Its a flawed concept to think or imagine that govenrment can be run like a business, its impossible and failure is its only outcome with a national multi trillion dollar failure we have to reverse.

The taxpayers are not only paying into the budgets, government has become a failure they have resorted to selling their prepaid services back to the public if they need the services of government agency. We are taxed to create, maintain, employe workers then taxed again to benefit from paying taxes.

If cost exceed budget then some serious changes must take place in its leadership.

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