Budget Woes Leave Health Hazards at Southern Campuses Unchecked

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 12.50.44 PMSouthern officials have submitted capital funding requests totaling more than $21 million since 2014, but just $4.8 million of the requests have been funded, resulting in deteriorating conditions and health hazards in buildings across the Southern University Baton Rouge campuses.
In a press release issued this morning, State Auditor Daryl Pupera said that a review to analyze environmental and structural conditions at the flagship Baton Rouge campus, the Southern Law Center and the Agricultural Research and Extension Center revealed significant problems with plumbing, ventilation, HVAC and mold in several facilities. The issues, which place the campuses in significant jeopardy for legal liability, will remain if funds aren’t appropriated by state legislature for remediation and renovation.
In total, 21 buildings were cited for safety code violations, including the John B. Cade library, for non-operational alarm or sprinkler systems. Three facilities, including A.W. Mumford Stadium and the F.G. Clark Activity Center are out of federal compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act for wheelchair access and accommodations.
According to the report summary, 33 of the campus’ 140 total buildings were built between 1938 and 1968. The Southern Museum of Art, and several academic facilities are plagued by leaking roofs, falling ceiling tiles and mold in ceilings and walls.
A.O. Williams Hall, constructed in 1999 but withheld from use until 2000, was specifically identified for long-standing mold and water damage since it was built, but has only recently received $200,000 in seed funding to begin immediate renovations.
The report recommends that university officials immediately address the environmental and federal ADA compliance issues, and works with state legislature to identify immediate needs for renovation.

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