UH has big building plans
New construction and maintenance are part of a two-year, $614 million request
| READ THE FULL STORY
University of Hawaii officials are preparing a budget for the next two years that asks the state for $277 million to fix aging buildings. The amount is about 150 percent more than the $112 million requested during the last biennium budget request in 2006.
University administrators are trying to attack an estimated $351 million backlog of repair projects. The backlog is projected to increase by about $60 million this year.
FULL STORY »
The University of Hawaii is hoping to provide a boost to the construction industry with a budget that calls for about $614 million in building projects over the next two years.
The budget request under consideration by the Board of Regents is for fiscal years 2010 and 2011 and increases spending to $272 million on deferred maintenance to fix aging buildings. Most of the money would come from taxpayer-financed bonds.
The budget also includes requests for a $116 million classroom building at UH-Manoa and $32 million for a new College of Hawaiian Language building at UH-Hilo.
UH President David McClain told regents he had considered not asking for any new construction and concentrating on reducing an estimated $351 million backlog in needed repairs and maintenance on the 10 UH campuses. But he said the Governor's Office would like to see new construction to help stimulate the lagging Hawaii economy.
Left out of the next proposed biennium budget, however, are some major projects, including a new Pharmacy School building at UH-Hilo and a performing arts complex/parking structure and a new College of Education building at UH-Manoa.
UH-Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng said not funding the pharmacy building could affect the school's accreditation.
UH administrators said they tried to balance the campuses' needs with the need to fix already existing buildings.
New buildings also add to the cost of maintaining the existing campuses. UH estimates it needs to spend about $60 million a year on repairs to keep the buildings in their current condition.
The proposed operating budget for the university also asks for an additional $16 million next year for maintenance and equipment, in part to account for the costs of maintaining its new buildings and to hire staff to manage the new building projects and increased repair and maintenance spending.
The university hopes to increase its spending by $36 million next year above its current $728 million general fund operating budget.
Yet to be determined is how much a new contract with faculty will cost the university. The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, the state and UH administrators are negotiating a new contract.
Even with the increased repair and maintenance spending, the total capital improvement budget request for the next two years comes to about $614 million, which is about $85 million lower than the request two years ago.
The budget will likely be presented to the regents again next month for final approval and then will be submitted to the governor and the Legislature.
If past experience is a guide, Gov. Linda Lingle will likely reduce the regents' budget, and the Legislature will also make significant changes, including adding some spending not in the budget proposal.