Louisiana lawmakers delay decision on funding for LSU maintenance project

By: - October 24, 2022 9:41 am
Louisiana State Senators Bodi White, Mark Abraham and Beth Mizell

State Sen. Bodi White, center, expressed reservations about funding an LSU maintenance project at a legislative meeting Friday. (Greg LaRose/Louisiana Illuminator)

The Louisiana Legislature’s joint budget committee Friday delayed the approval of additional funding for an LSU maintenance project at its flagship campus in Baton Rouge.

LSU is seeking money to replace the “uninterrupted power supply system” at a building that provides computing infrastructure to the university’s entire Baton Rouge campus. LSU wants lawmakers to tap into a state account for deferred state building maintenance to help complete the $2.25 million project.

Legislators are reluctant to give LSU additional money because school officials told lawmakers in 2021 the university would use its own funding – mostly collected from tuition and student fees – to cover the costs.

Lawmakers worry that giving LSU its requested money could encourage other universities to ask the state to provide more funding for their own projects. 

“Everybody has legitimate deferred maintenance projects. Everybody competes for those dollars,” said Sen. Bodi White, R-Central.

Tony Lombardo, who oversees LSU’s facilities, said the university would be able to complete this “high priority” project more quickly if the lawmakers provided the funding. Otherwise, LSU will have to find a way to cobble together internal money to finish it, he said.

The school has already spent $160,800 of its own money for a design of the new power supply system. They had hoped legislators would agree to provide funding for the rest of the project.

LSU spends about $10.2 million on deferred maintenance projects from tuition, students fees and other self-generated funds annually, but Lombardo said they like to use that money on projects in buildings where students spend time.

Students don’t use the building where the new power system would be housed.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Julie O'Donoghue
Julie O'Donoghue

Julie O’Donoghue is a senior reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator and producer of the Louisiana Illuminator podcast. She’s received awards from the Virginia Press Association and Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press. Julie covered state government and politics for NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune for six years. She’s also covered government and politics in Missouri, Virginia and Washington D.C. Julie is a proud D.C. native and Washington Capitals hockey fan. She and her partner, Jed, live in Baton Rouge. She has two stepchildren, Quinn and Steven.