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NORTHRIDGE : CSUN Utilities Plant Delayed by Finances

West Valley Focus

September 15, 1994|JOHN CHANDLER

A much-needed $22-million utilities plant at Cal State Northridge--along with most of the Cal State system's pending capital projects--will be delayed at least a year because voters rejected one bond measure and the state Legislature balked at another, officials said Wednesday.

The CSUN project, along with many others, had been slated for construction this school year. But those plans died when state voters in June rejected Proposition 1C, a $900-million higher-education bond measure.

State lawmakers have failed to put another measure on the November ballot.

The only consolation for CSUN is that the utilities plant, because of its high-priority ranking, probably will be financed from Cal State funds in 1995-96, officials said.

Many other projects at other campuses face less certain futures, officials said.

The bond setbacks erased $131 million of the Cal State system's $143-million capital-projects budget for the current year, and a similar amount for 1995-96.

Only $12 million of separately funded projects will proceed this year, including $3.6 million of equipment for an addition to CSUN's engineering building.

Officials said CSUN's central utilities system, particularly its steam boilers and heating system, was old and in need of replacement even before the January earthquake rocked the campus.

If the current plant were to fail, it could jeopardize the school's operation.

Over the next two years, Cal State officials had expected to spend about $260 million of Proposition 1C funds on various projects.

Now, the system hopes to recoup only about $100 million of that for 1995-96 by seeking state approval to fund that smaller amount from its own budget.

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