Addressing deferred maintenance
MIT's maintenance backlog
As research and discovery methods have evolved, MIT has required increasingly more sophisticated building engineering and systems. To support faculty, researchers, and students working at the forefront of their fields, we strive to maintain and upgrade our existing buildings. Many of these buildings require significant repairs or updates to accommodate leading-edge activities. In some cases, these maintenance tasks have been postponed or deferred due to budget constraints.
Over the years, MIT's deferred maintenance backlog has grown steadily and includes updates to obsolete systems, changes required by codes or regulations, user-driven changes (when the use of a building has changed), and the repair or replacement of building systems including roofs, mechanical equipment, utilities, major building components, plazas, walkways, landscaping, and roadways.
Reversing the trend
Like most universities across the country, MIT has found it far more difficult to raise funds for deferred maintenance than for new construction. However, the need to reinvest in our existing assets and infrastructure has never been greater—and should be addressed now rather than later.
Since 2000, the built square footage on MIT's campus has increased 30%, from 9.4 million square feet to 12.2 million square feet. MIT has been investing $20 million/year to address immediate repair needs and repair or replace failed systems. We now estimate deferred maintenance costs to be over $2 billion. Additionally, a number of MIT buildings are reaching the end of their expected life cycles and are at an age where maintenance issues are prominent.
Today, having identified capital renewal and stewardship as top priorities for MIT 2030, we are prepared to commit $250 million to deferred maintenance projects over the next three years. These funds—made available through MIT's historic issuance of Century Bonds—have removed financial barriers and enabled us to initiate a new approach to campus stewardship and maintenance.
With our focus aligned and our funding in place, now is the time for MIT to address and reduce our deferred maintenance issues.