CUNY enrollment declines as billions in repairs are delayed

The Department of Buildings has cited numerous violations at CUNY facilities.

At Brooklyn College, Boylan Hall has 173 open Department of Buildings violations, many of which are elevator-related. Ingersoll Hall has 62 open violations. At City Tech, there are 144 open violations at the NAMM building, many construction-related. At Medgar Evers College, there are 70 open violations at the Bedford Building, and at Hunter, the crown jewel of the CUNY system, there are 92 open complaints at one building on the 68th Street campus.

CUNY administrators acknowledge the system’s 300 buildings across its 25 campuses need billions of dollars for deferred maintenance and repairs.

“​CUNY colleges have had to defer routine maintenance for years because of fiscal pressures. The result is facility deterioration in the near term and significantly increased facility operating and routine maintenance expenses,” the school system wrote in its latest budget request.

The average age of the university’s buildings is more than 50 years old. Some newer buildings also have problems, including the library at Medgar Evers, built in 1987, which has had flooding issues. The school says the leaks have been fixed.

“CUNY regularly conducts infrastructure repairs throughout the University, as the safety of our students, faculty and staff is of paramount importance,” university spokesman Joseph Tirella said in a statement. He noted Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration has provided $344 million for critical maintenance as part of a $927 million funding package.

CUNY, however, puts the cost of deferred maintenance at $4.3 billion. Administrators had requested $1.247 billion for repairs this year.

CUNY officials said they take Department of Buildings violations seriously and seek to repair them as quickly as possible. Elevator repairs at Brooklyn College have been complicated by supply chain issues, the school said. More than 100 DOB violations listed in public records are out of date, according to City Tech.

Nevertheless, some CUNY faculty say they don’t feel safe at work.

“I walk into my office, and I feel that I am in a dangerous space,” said Brooklyn College English professor Julie Agoos, whose officemate donned the bike helmet.

“A tile fell with so much force, it broke on my computer monitor and it sent my computer across the desk and to the floor,” Agoos said.

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