Financial Master Plan
Finally, we come to the most difficult challenge of all. This flagship campus in Amherst, for many historical and organizational reasons, has a remarkably deteriorated complement of buildings and facilities. This campus cannot survive the five years of this budget projection without major repair and renovation. Some structures are simply closed because they are unsafe and unusable, others operate only with temporary occupancy permits; many buildings no longer serve the purposes for which they were designed, especially in the sciences, and others are in such poor condition they probably do not merit renovation and improvement. The structures range from those of historic age, whose elegant charm partially disguises their disrepair and disintegration, to others of more recent construction whose mechanical systems, roofs, and windows have reached the limit of their effective lifespan and must be replaced.
Many residence halls and associated student buildings are marginal at best, recreation facilities for students are poor to non-existent, and most intercollegiate athletic facilities have long lists of required but postponed renovation, repair, and basic maintenance. Campus roadways are in poor condition. The heating plant is obsolete and the construction of its replacement is stalled and delayed beyond the time planned to take the old plant out of service. The campus operates only thanks to the extraordinary efforts of a buildings-and-grounds crew and a complement of highly skilled trades people who struggle to keep the campus spaces safe and at least marginally functional.
To address the essential buildings and facilities requirements of the campus, the budget projection shows a substantial and increasing amount of capital debt service and repair and renovation expenditures, adequate only for maintaining the minimal functions of this campus. Although the fundraising campaign will provide some support for these challenges, private dollars will not solve the most critical problems. The deterioration of the campus structures in Amherst continues apace, day by day, month by month, whatever the circumstances or opportunities of private fundraising from the campus, or politics and revenue allocations that occur in Boston. The new buildings constructed in recent years, while providing examples of modern facilities, do not address the current issues. The basic problem of inadequate funding of campus buildings and facilities has been made worse by past constraints on the campus’ ability to manage its construction and renovation processes that caused delay, inefficiency, and high cost.
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