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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

September 4 , 2003
 Newspage

Deferred maintenance
catching up with Canadian universities


Memorial is allocating $5 million for upgrades to its infrastructure. The allocation was confirmed by the Board of Regents at its last meeting where budget issues were decided.
Accumulated deferred maintenance (ADM) is fast becoming a serious problem facing Canadian universities. According to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) more than 50 per cent of today’s total campus space was built more than 30 years ago, and now needs to be renovated and modernized to meet the needs of a new generation. Thanks to provincial government funding, Memorial University is responding to this need, reporting several major maintenance projects already underway.

Referring to the backlog of unfunded major maintenance and renewal projects that have been deferred to future budgets, ADM is the result of postponing routine maintenance items which subsequently evolve into more serious and costly concerns. The Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO) has estimated the cost of addressing ADM at $3.6 billion across Canada, of which more than $1 billion is considered urgent. The urgent deferred maintenance to be done at Atlantic Canadian universities alone totals an estimated $400 million.

“Memorial has approximately $80 million of deferred maintenance costs,” explained Darrell Miles, director of Facilities Management at Memorial. “We have approximately 80 buildings ranging in age from seven to 40 years, many of which need attention. The repairs considered to be most important total about $28 million. Such repairs include replacing the electrical distribution system, fuel tanks, the roof of the QE II library and so on.”

Facilities Management has developed a five-year plan, which will require the university to spend approximately $5-6 million per year. The government of Newfoundland and Labrador has committed $5 million of this year’s provincial budget for repairs to the university infrastructure to be spent on the following projects: $920,000 for various roof repairs, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II roof replacement, $475,000 allotted for various window and door replacements, $1,290,000 for mechanical and electrical priorities, $80,000 ensuring Memorial stays environmentally sound, $500,000 for the field hall exterior, $110,000 for a major upgrade to the Sir Wilfred Grenfell parking lot at Memorial’s Corner Brook campus, $100,000 for the entrance to R. Gushue Hall, $350,000 for grounds work and miscellaneous paving for the St. John’s campus.

“We are very pleased with securing funding for year one of the plan,” added Mr. Miles. “This is an excellent beginning to starting the refurbishing of the Memorial’s St. John’s and Corner Brook campuses and addressing the deferred maintenance problem.”

The only comprehensive study of ADM was commissioned by the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO). In April 2000 CAUBO and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) jointly released the findings in a report entitled “A Point of No Return: The Urgent Need for Infrastructure Renewal at Canadian Universities.”

 


 


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