CSU, SDSU Look To Chip Away At Maintenance Backlog
Years of state funding cuts to public universities have left California State University campuses, including San Diego State, with long lists of neglected maintenance needs. The statewide cost to make all the needed fixes is estimated at $1.7 billion.
When it turned chilly last fall, professors teaching in one of SDSU’s buildings noticed the heat wasn’t working. When facilities workers looked into it, they discovered a steam line that served the building had failed seven weeks earlier.
"We had a couple weeks where our faculty was complaining it was kind of chilly," said Robert Schulz, the campus' chief architect. "But you imagine, you do that in the middle of winter and it's a much more significant impact. If we did it in the early fall with an air conditioning systems it's probably an even worse impact. We have spaces that are pretty hard to occupy comfortably if we don't have cooling and heating."
September temperatures on Montezuma Mesa reached 100 degrees this year.
But, replacing 70-year-old steam lines is part of a $32 million, multi-year effort the university started this summer to chip away at the campus’ backed-up list of maintenance needs. The school is taking a new, strategic approach to using maintenance dollars after years of having few to spend, according to Schulz.
“Are we paying appropriate attention to our research spaces, are we paying appropriate attention to some of our specialty teaching spaces? Are we paying appropriate attention to some of our very unique lab configurations that you couldn’t shift a class somewhere else if you had a problem?” he said.
But Schulz said CSU system leaders aren’t planning for a return to the time when the state footed the bill for facilities needs. Leaders are looking for other ways to fund $1.7 billion in necessary fixes and future construction needs.