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Deferred Maintenance: Naval Academy Runs Aground


By Ryan Berlin Maintenance & Operations
U.S. Naval Academy Graduation Ceremony

Deferred maintenance steals a great deal from the organizations and the institutional and commercial facilities that it plagues. As managers and their staffs struggle to find ways to make even the most basic repairs to key systems and materials, deferred maintenance steals valuable resources in the form of time, energy and money.

Ultimately, as the U.S. Naval Academy is finding out, deferred maintenance can even threaten to take away an entire building, according to The Capital Gazette.

Infrastructure at the naval institution in Annapolis has degraded to the point of threatening the school’s ability to train and educate midshipmen, according to a report by the Naval Audit Service. The 2018 audit details failing buildings, classrooms and athletic facilities, which in some cases actively leak, overheat, and threaten user safety.

Buildings including Nimitz Library and Macdonough Hall were built decades ago but never fully updated, causing critical systems to outlive their usefulness. Auditors fear the conditions jeopardize academy accreditation, endanger midshipmen and visitors, and violate several federal laws.

The report took stock of 13 unfunded maintenance or renovation projects spread among 15 facilities in 2017 and 2018. Ten of these facilities are highly important to the academy mission, according to its internal rating system. But of those 10, four rated “poor to fair” and five rated “failing to poor” at supporting the academy’s ultimate goal — to ready midshipmen for naval service.

Dan Hounsell is editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions and FacilitiesNet.com.

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