Among the funds likely lost this fiscal year as the state slogs through an economic slowdown will be money for repairs and renovations at state universities.
The repair and renovation fund is not for glamorous projects. It doesn't pay for dazzling new buildings that dignitaries celebrate by snipping big ribbons with oversized scissors. What it does fund is quick-fix repairs for leaky roofs, broken windows and that pesky heating system that busted unexpectedly on the coldest day of February. Campus leaders covet the fund; legislators do not. It is often one of the first big cuts made when times get tight, and campus infrastructures can suffer as a result.
In good times, the UNC system and its campuses get a good chunk of R&R money. The system's budget request, which will be reviewed and perhaps approved next week, would ask the state for $218 million over the next two years.
As for this year, that money is being frozen with little chance of being unfrozen by the end of June, said Rob Nelson, the UNC system's vice president for finance, speaking to faculty this afternoon at UNC Chapel Hill.
"I hope we can get those dollars back this year," he said. "The loss of that money is bad."
At UNC Chapel Hill, the loss of R&R money would force a delay in renovation projects to three campus facilities, said Chancellor Holden Thorp. Those are the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, the a biomedical imaging facility and the law school.
Earlier today I wrote a bit more about budget cuts at UNC-CH and the university system. Check that out here!