BOSTON, Mass. (SHNS)–UMass plans to prioritize projects addressing $4.8 billion in deferred maintenance at buildings on university campuses, following an update to the public school system’s capital plan that the UMass Board approved Thursday.

Of the university system’s 518 buildings across its five campuses, 58 percent were built between 1951 and 1990 and many require repairs and renovations.

The maintenance backlog has grown in recent years, as inflation has created new challenges to make repairs, according to a 2024-2028 capital plan update. What was a $4 billion backlog in fiscal year 2020 grew to $4.8 billion by fiscal 2022.

Read the UMass FY24-FY28 Capital plan using this link.

To address this issue, the UMass Board’s Administration and Finance Committee is recommending a strategy to “keep up” and “catch up” — or funding small operating projects and preventive/proactive maintenance, as well as major capital projects using one-time funds to chip away at the large backlog.

In fiscal 2023, the university targeted $282 million in investments for “keep up” projects and $322 for “catch up” spending. They met 35 percent and 37 percent of these targets, respectively, spending $100 million and $119 million.

According to the capital plan, state investments include an $82 million commitment between fiscal year 2024 and fiscal 2028 (about $16.4 million annually) for critical repairs, as well as $75 million toward UMass Amherst computer sciences building, $75 million for the project to convert UMass Boston’s old Science Center and pool house to make way for green space, $37 million toward UMass Lowell’s renovation of Olney Hall, and $81 million to renovate UMass Dartmouth’s liberal arts building.