California State University

By Josh Dulaney, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 03/01/14, 10:20 PM PST |

Top administrators for the California State University system warned legislators that years of budget cutbacks have left a $1.8 billion backlog of needed critical repairs and upgrades on campuses throughout the state.

With nearly half its buildings more than 40 years old and infrastructure such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning deteriorating, the 23-campus CSU system faces a crisis, officials said.

From the Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach to the Capitol in Sacramento, officials are urging Gov. Jerry Brown and California legislators to address a problem they say has reached a critical stage.

“It really is a crisis,” said CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White. “We are so vulnerable to losing classrooms and labs. It’s not a crisis in health and safety, but it’s a crisis in there are so many buildings that are old.”

CSU hasn’t received funding for deferred maintenance since 2007-08, and officials are seeking $15 million a year in each of the next three fiscal years to finance up to $800 million in bonds for upgrades and repairs, saying deferred maintenance costs will balloon to $2.2 billion a year by 2016 without an annual investment of at least $100 million a year.

How that money would be spent is yet to be determined, but CSU is in the process of putting together a utilities master plan and is working on the best way to use funding, based on critical priorities across its campuses.

In January, a science building constructed in 1953 at San Francisco State University was closed for the spring semester when asbestos, lead paint and mercury were discovered before the start of the semester, sending officials scrambling to relocate thousands of students to other labs, including those in local school and community college districts, as well as at UC San Francisco.

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