LSU’s unveiling of its posh $28 million football locker room this week sparked a social media debate about priorities as many of Louisiana’s college campuses crumble under the weight of almost $2 billion in deferred maintenance, according to the News Star.
Though all of the LSU football renovations were paid for by private donors, it highlighted the disparity for state-funded infrastructure at colleges and universities.
Leaky roofs, mildew-stained ceilings, threadbare carpet, pipes propped up by two-by-fours and parking lot potholes can be found at public universities and community colleges across Louisiana.
Though Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Republican-controlled Legislature have stabilized higher education’s operating budgets, there continues to be a backlog in deferred maintenance despite a handful of projects annually making it through the state’s capital outlay process. And this year, due to the state’s surplus, additional dollars were approved for deferred maintenance.
The LSU System alone has more than $1 billion in deferred maintenance needs, including $718 million at its Baton Rouge campus, while the University of Louisiana System has a $364 million backlog, the Southern University System has a $184 million backlog and the Louisiana Community and Technical College System has $150 million in unmet maintenance. Read the full story.
(Note: This story has been updated since its original publication to reflect state dollars being approved through the capital outlay process for campus deferred maintenance projects.)