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WVU to receive funding for maintenance, safety needs

MORGANTOWN — WVU will receive $1.83 million toward some deferred maintenance projects, the Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) announced this week.

The money is part of $8.33 million realized through refinancing  lottery revenue bonds and is being distributed to eight public colleges and universities to help pay for pressing deferred maintenance and safety needs, HEPC said.

WVU’s share will go to four projects: Rooftop air handlers at Health Sciences, $600,000; electrical work at Health Sciences, $530,000; HVAC for an academic instructional gymnasium, $250,000 (WVU was unable to supply The Dominion Post a location during the span of two business days); ground floor air handler replacement, $450,000 (location also not supplied).

WVU did not respond to a request for comment on the funding or to questions on the estimated cost of its overall deferred maintenance.

HEPC explained that the money for the projects comes from savings due to the refunding of West Virginia Economic Development Authority Lottery Refunding Revenue Bonds, Series 2017, often referred to as “the East Bonds.”

Refunding of government bonds is similar to a homeowner’s refinancing a mortgage at a lower rate, HEPC said. In this case, the lower interest rates today are more favorable for the state than they were when the East Bonds originally were issued in 2010.

“During times of tightened budgets, necessary maintenance is often reduced or altogether cut to reduce the impact on student tuition and services,” HEPC Chancellor Paul L. Hill said. “We are grateful to Gov. [Jim] Justice, who identified this opportunity and supported the refunding of the East Bonds. This is an investment that will help prolong the life of many of our existing campus buildings, making them safer and more comfortable for our students and staff.”

Fairmont State will receive $600,000: $200,000 for HVAC work at the Musick Library and $400,000 for elevator upgrades at three sites.