Louisiana's college campuses are crumbling under the weight of $1.7 billion in deferred maintenance, state budget figures show.
The Monroe News-Star reports that leaky roofs, mold- and mildew-stained ceilings, threadbare carpet, pipes propped up by two-by-fours and deep parking lot potholes can be found on campuses across the state.
"Our facilities are disintegrating from the inside out," says University of Louisiana System President Jim Henderson. "It's a huge issue for us."
The state's public colleges and universities have been so focused on coping with eight years of operational cuts that the backlog of deferred maintenance for facilities has mushroomed.
Perhaps the most glaring example can be found at Grambling State University, where President Rick Gallot says the university will have to abandon its dilapidated A.C. Lewis Memorial Library this spring.
The proposed state budget includes a system-by-system, campus-by-campus list of deferred maintenance needs.
The Louisiana State University System has more than $1 billion in deferred maintenance needs, including $718 million at its Baton Rouge campus; 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.