Local News

N.C. Central Needs More Money To Handle Mold, Other Repairs

Posted September 24, 2003

— The tab for removing mold, repairing leaky pipes and fixing a faulty steam system at North Carolina Central University could top $57 million.

A preliminary report blames problems in a dozen buildings on design and construction flaws. Chancellor James Ammons told the Board of Trustees Wednesday a lack of maintenance contributed to the trouble. He blames that on a lack of state funding.

"There have been several years where we have not had repair and renovation funds. In those years where we did have it, we are looking now into whether we could've been more effective in what we did," he said.

The University of North Carolina system will look at N.C. Central University and other schools. President Molly Broad wants to audit maintenance practices at all state universities. For now, leaders at N.C. Central are more concerned about money for repairs.

According to preliminary estimates, the school needs $16.5 million immediately. Repairs totalling another $1.9 million should be made within a year and within five years, the university needs an additional $39 million for permanent repairs.

Eric Michaux, an university trustee, said the question now is not what to do, but how to pay for it?

"The daunting task is probably going to be getting the money, not getting the work done," he said. "We can get the work done here. The question is whether we're going to get the fiscal support we need to get it done."

The numbers could change when a final report on the cost of repairs comes in next week. Ammons said he will go to the UNC Board of Governors in October to explain the extent of the problem and the price tag.

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