According to ABC affiliate WBRZ, the school estimates they’re in need of about $600 million in repairs and maintenance, as about 70% of their buildings are more than 25 years old. The school’s Facility Services have not received any funding from state legislators since 2008.
“We have a lot of buildings like Middleton that have a lot of deferred maintenance needs,” LSU Planning, Design and Construction Director Roger Husser said. “Unfortunately, we have not had the right maintenance funding to get that done.”
The building Husser specifically mentions, the Troy H. Middleton Library, is just one of the many that is in need of some kind of significant attention. From leaky roofs to new HVAC systems, the list of maintenance to get the school back in tip-top shape is lengthy.
The Middleton Library, for example, needs basement waterproofing (approximately $50,000) and a whole new roof replacement. Coates Hall and Dodson Hall both need new air conditioning systems ($50,00 each) and Johnston Hall needs about $50,000 in new windows. According to the Department of Energy, factors like leaky and inefficient windows can raise a home’s energy bill by about 25%.
“If you have a system that is 28 years through its 25-year life cycle, we should replace it. It could fail any day, but the reality is those systems fail everyday on campus and we have to use an emergency fund to be able to address those,” Husser said.
Currently, LSU’s facility condition index sits at 22%. Public research universities typically aim for this number to be about 7.5%. Overall, LSU has invested about $11.3 million less in its buildings since 2008 than similar schools, such as the University of Alabama.
One of the problems is the school operates on a deferred-maintenance process that leaves them questioning whether or not to keep doing smaller repairs or completely demolish buildings and start over.
“When a building has a very high maintenance need, just like your car, you always ask the question, you know, is it worth making that maintenance investment or is it worth demolishing that building and replacing it,” Husser said.