McMaster carrying $150M in deferred maintenance, $50M “critical”
Last week, the Student Representative Assembly approved a policy by the MSU to lobby the University and Province to pay off more of McMaster’s deferred maintenance costs.
“Deferred maintenance” is a fancy term for the backlog of unpaid repairs on infrastructure that have been deferred until funds become available.
According to a Facility Services report released last year, McMaster has accumulated $150 million in deferred maintenance. The report identifies $50 million of those repairs as being “critical” importance and needing to be addressed within the next year.
The MSU’s VP (Education), Huzaifa Saeed, said the issue “has been on the [the MSU’s] radar for years,” and that their concerns are shared by Facility Services.
“Given what’s been reported, our figures are worse than comparable universities,” Saeed noted.
University Hall and Togo Salmon Hall are among the buildings with classrooms that have the highest deferred maintenance on campus.
The MSU policy paper recommends that McMaster invest $12.65 million annually in deferred maintenance requirements and create a long-term plan to increase annual investment to $25 million. In comparison, Facility Services has recommended that the university set aside $11 million annually, up from $2 to $3 million.
The MSU will also ask the province to “drastically” increase its direct contribution toward McMaster’s deferred maintenance to $26 million per year.
“Both parties [the University and the province] are pushing the issue on each other,” said Saeed. “We can talk about how classrooms can be reconfigured for better learning, but we need to keep up our basic infrastructure first.”
In 2011, McMaster University was ranked poorly among 58 institutions for loss ratios on its property and liability coverage because of its “high numbers of sudden equipment failures” between 2006 and 2010.
In 2000, it was reported that deferred maintenance costs among Canadian universities totaled $3.6 billion.