Capital Improvements Funding in Higher Education

Brianna Horton
Fiscal Analyst

Shirley Morrow
Principal Fiscal Analyst

The Kansas Board of Regents (Board) policy definition of “deferred maintenance” is annual maintenance and necessary renewal of facilities systems and components that have been postponed, delayed, or deferred, to a future budget cycle or until funds are available.

The 2020 Report on State University Building Inventory, Space Utilization, and Facilities Condition published by the Board notes that the estimated renewal costs to address deferred maintenance for mission-critical buildings is approximately $1.2 billion. The Board defines “mission critical” as those buildings that are predominately used for the academic and research mission of the state universities and the infrastructure that directly supports these buildings.

Educational Building Fund

The Educational Building Fund (EBF) was established in 1941 primarily for the construction of new buildings at state universities. The EBF receives revenue from a mill levy on all tangible property in the state that is subject to ad valorem taxation.
Currently, the fund is primarily used for deferred maintenance projects at state universities. The Board calculates EBF appropriations using an adjusted square footage formula that considers the gross square footage, building age, and complexity of the physical plant.

For FY 2023, the Board transferred $41.0 million from the EBF to state universities. Allocations to the state universities can be found in the table below.

Kansas State University$12,259,000
University of Kansas11,016,700
University of Kansas Medical Center4,612,500
Wichita State University4,501,800
Fort Hays State University3,107,800
Pittsburg State University3,025,800
Emporia State University2,476,400

Kansas Board of Regents Policy

The Board approved a new policy in June 2021 for university building maintenance. Beginning in FY 2023, and each year thereafter, each university must calculate a maintenance assessment as a percentage of the professionally estimated replacement cost of mission critical buildings according to an assessment schedule, culminating in a sustainable 2.0 percent of current replacement value as approved by the Board on an annual basis.

Utilizing each university’s Deferred Maintenance Projects Fund, expenditures must be itemized using a standard template for the Board’s review annually.

Each state university must identify and expend campus funds (excluding EBF allocations) annually for the purpose of addressing annual maintenance according to a prioritized assessment plan reviewed by the Board.

Funding for the maintenance assessment may include contributions from university, state, federal, and philanthropic sources.

It is the stated intent of the Board to use the 2.0 percent of current replacement value funds to annually maintain the buildings in proper working order and focus the use of the Educational Building Funds on strategic projects to reduce the backlog of deferred maintenance. The Board voted to allow the universities a six-year escalator to ultimately arrive at the 2.0 percent current replacement value.

2022 Legislative Action

House Sub. for Sub. for SB 267 (2022) appropriated $35.0 million from the State General Fund (SGF) to the Board for the state universities facilities capital renewal initiative in FY 2023.

Specifically, expenditures must be made for non-recurring commitments for the purpose of increasing annual investment in deferred maintenance to eliminate the backlog and adequately maintain state education institution campuses.

Additionally, all projects using these funds require a $1-to-$1 match from either the state education institution or private moneys.

The Board approved the allocation of the funds according to the adjusted square footage formula used by the Board since 2007 to allocate EBF dollars, reflected below:

Kansas State University$10,465,000
University of Kansas9,404,500
University of Kansas Medical Center3,937,500
Wichita State University3,843,000
Fort Hays State University2,653,000
Pittsburg State University2,583,000
Emporia State University2,114,000

House Sub. for Sub. for SB 267 also appropriated $10.0 million SGF for the demolition of buildings. These funds may only be used for the demolition or razing of buildings on postsecondary educational institutions and must be expended by the end of FY 2025. Of the $10.0 million, $750,000 is allocated for Washburn University.

At the time of publication of this article, the Board has approved $9.0 million of projects from the fund. The division of approved funds by state universities can be found in the table below.

Kansas State University$3,602,000
University of Kansas1,613,000
Pittsburg State University1,500,000
Emporia State University1,000,000
University of Kansas Medical Center750,000
Wichita State University500,000