diverse students in classroom

Hispanic-Serving Institutions Struggle with Maintenance Backlogs

Forty-three percent of HSI building space needs repair or replacement   April 2, 2024

By Dan Hounsell, Senior Editor 

Deferred maintenance affects every institutional and commercial facility, regardless of building type, size or age. But a closer look at the burden of unaddressed maintenance finds that its impact tends to vary based on the population the facility serves. Majority-black schools often face greater deferred maintenance challenges, and federal buildings in Native American communities also have been hit especially hard by the problem. 

Now, a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) examines the impact of deferred maintenance on another underserved population. 

Hispanic-serving institutions (HSI) educated over 2 million Hispanic students during the 2021-’22 school year but continued to demonstrate extensive facility needs, according to the GAO report

The report evaluates facility and digital infrastructure needs at institutions serving a minimum 25 percent of Hispanic undergraduates. The report noted that many colleges had maintenance backlogs, damage from natural disasters and facilities that need modernization. 

Related Content: Deferred Maintenance: How to Get Funding for Overdue Projects

GAO surveyed a sample of HSIs and received responses from 169 colleges. The survey found that an estimated 43 percent of HSI building space, on average, needs repair or replacement. HSIs have an average deferred maintenance backlog of almost $100 million, based on the survey. An estimated 77 percent of HSIs have at least one deferred maintenance project that addresses a health or safety issue, while an estimated 65 percent have experienced at least one natural disaster or severe weather event in the past five years that has resulted in the need to repair or replace facilities. 

Dan Hounsell is senior editor for the facilities market. He has more than 30 years of experience writing about facilities maintenance, engineering and management. 


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