Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian


Fresno State is $350 million behind in maintenance and construction upkeep, and people are noticing

Carlos Rene Castro/The Collegian

Fresno State is struggling to keep its facilities up and running.

Renovations for facilities on campus have fallen behind due to insufficient funding, university officials say.

“Funding has always been an issue; we just don’t have enough,” said Tinnah Medina, associate vice president of Facilities Management. “We are currently at approximately $350 million in deferred maintenance funds which we currently don’t have in hand to address all the issues.”

Several aging buildings on campus aren’t getting the renovations they need and are more susceptible to flaws that can impact the safety and learning environment for students and faculty.

Medina said that a large portion of the campus is composed of aging infrastructure.

“We have about 60% of 3 million square feet that are over 60 years old,” she told The Collegian.

This includes the McKee Fisk and Industrial Technology buildings that have shown flaws with their climate control systems.

During the Fall 2022 semester, the pipelines of the McKee Fisk Building that run its heating system broke. This caused temperatures to drop near the end of the semester inside the classrooms.

“The problem with the existing pipes is that it’s rusting from the outside in,” said Jeff Prickett, director of Facilities Operations and Services.

Medina said that only certain parts of the pipe system are new, but that this will change with the completion of the Central Utility Plant Replacement project.

“Over the past 56 years, we have replaced some portions of piping, so some parts are new and some parts are original,” Medina said. “The Central Plant Replacement Project not only replaces the central plants with higher efficient boilers, but it also replaces the 32 miles of piping that have been breaking over the years.”

Students and faculty have questioned the efficiency of the Industrial Technology Building’s air conditioning.

Assistant professor Jesse Scaccia taught media literacy during the Fall 2022 semester inside the building.

Scaccia didn’t think it was the best place for the course and currently teaches it in the North Gym.

“The classroom I taught in over in the IT building sometimes was too hot, it was often too bright to effectively use the projector and it was consistently too noisy. We made it work, but it was not ideal,” Scaccia said.

Alicia Verduzco, a junior at Fresno State, takes classes in this building in the afternoon hours.

She hasn’t complained about the temperature inside the building but thinks it could use some renovations.

“It doesn’t look well taken care of,” Verduzco said. “Considering the fact that some students are saying it’s too hot, it definitely seems like it needs to be taken care of.”

Facilities Management is unable to fully renovate buildings and only focuses on partial maintenance.

“There are spaces that are updated throughout time, but not necessarily like it’s a full renovation that we’re replacing everything in a building,” Prickett said.

This is because time is another inconvenience when it comes to maintenance.

“That would be hard to do because a construction period is much longer than what is afforded in the summer when we have most of our spaces empty. We would have to not schedule classes in these spaces while we do construction,” Medina said.

Student dormitories have also shown signs of falling behind on maintenance.

A Fresno State student, who chose to remain anonymous, said their air conditioning unit stopped working during the first week of the Fall 2023 semester after showing several signs of malfunctioning.

“Our AC hasn’t worked well for the past year. It would randomly stop working and go on and off, and then last week it stopped working entirely,” she said. “It got up to 90 degrees just inside our living room and it felt even hotter inside our rooms. It’s very stuffy in there and it’s hard to breathe.”

The student and her roommates sent multiple maintenance reports to Student Housing for Auxiliary Services to repair the unit. It wasn’t until they complained at the front desk in person that they were told that the unit couldn’t be fixed and that a replacement unit needed to be ordered, which could take approximately four weeks to arrive.

They called several times before they could get portable air conditioners to use until the new unit came in.

The student also said the heat inside the dorm caused her laptop to malfunction.

“When my laptop’s battery stopped working I thought it was acting weird, but the same thing happened to the laptop of one of my roommates. When my roommate moved to a cooler place, her laptop started working again, but mine didn’t,” she said.

Facilities Management said some concerns such as the effects of temperature on comfort level are too complex to handle alone.

For this reason, people who find themselves in state buildings are encouraged to report any issues they can address, which can be done by contacting Medina or Prickett. Their contact information can be found on the Facilities Management contact webpage.

“In some of the older buildings it’s more difficult for us to know what’s going on in a room, so we have to depend on students and faculty to help let us know if there’s an issue,” Prickett said.

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