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Laurentian University announces new spending to address maintenance deficit

Laurentian University has approved $8.4 million in spending on deferred maintenance this year.

The university’s board of governors has approved the spending as part of the institution's on-going efforts to address recommendations from the Auditor General’s report on the issues that led to Laurentian's insolvency. LU has created a new five-year maintenance plan calling for an additional $7.8 million per year to be spent on deferred maintenance projects.

"The total deferred maintenance backlog that has been identified for the university is over $135 million," said interim vice-president of finance and administration Michel Piche.

The VP said there will be work for years to come.  

"We found that the primary cause of Laurentian’s financial decline was its pursuit of major capital projects without adequate consideration for how they would be collectively funded or ultimately used,” Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk said, in her report last November.

“These investments to the campus infrastructure are critical,” said board chair Jeff Bangs, in a news release Tuesday.

“The goal is to maintain facilities over the next five years before costly emergency repairs are necessary.”

University President Sheila Embleton said any university has a very long list of deferred maintenance and never enough money.

"(We do) the most urgent ones first," she said.

The expenditure will be funded by the university’s operating fund and an estimated $2.6 million from the Ministry of Colleges and UniversitiesFacilities Renewal Program.

“The project list includes multiple roofing projects, residence renovations, and various accessibility improvements,” said Bangs.

This spending will be used to renew many campus facilities, including:

  • Alphonse Raymond Building roof
  • Jeno Tihanyi Pool
  • Arts Building roof
  • Science 2 Building roof
  • Residence renovations
  • Electrical upgrades
  • Ventilation upgrades
  • Modernization of elevators
  • Campus washrooms
  • Multiple outdoor stair repairs

Faculty Association President Fabrice Colin told CTV News that many of these maintenance projects had been delayed even before Laurentians had entered the CCAA, but he feels this spending is a step in the right direction.

One of the most talked about projects on campus is the university’s plan to spend up to $300,000 to address immediate issues with the pool.

“There’s a real commitment to doing the best they can to get the pool going,” said head coach Dean Henze, in a previous interview with CTV News.

Current LU student Avery Morin said the campus has many beautiful outdoor spaces and it would be nice to have interior ones that match.

“I think going for a swim after a long day of studying would be a be a great way to spend my time,” said Morin.

“There’s a real commitment to doing the best they can to get the pool going,” said head coach Dean Henze, in a previous interview with CTV News.

Piche said once they are sure the pool can properly hold and maintain water other safety issues will have to be addressed before it can reopen.

Officials said these investments in the future of the university are key to the renewal and long-term viability of the campus infrastructure. Top Stories


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