The Baker administration's fiscal 2018 capital budget plan will include $78 million over three years to repair a crumbling, underground parking garage at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Gov. Charlie Baker's office announced Monday.
"The Baker-Polito Administration is committing $78 million to UMass Boston in this year's capital budget for the campus parking garage to support infrastructure needs and uphold our commitment to ensure UMass remains a successful and competitive public university system for Massachusetts students," Baker communications director Lizzy Guyton said in a statement.
Barry Mills, UMass Boston's new deputy chancellor and chief operating officer, told UMass trustees earlier this month that the school is looking to move its utilities out of a "crumbling" substructure, calling it a "remarkably complicated" project with escalating costs.
He said the campus is "pretty much built on a big parking garage" that has been condemned.
"It won't fall down, I hope, because it's been reinforced over and over, you want to talk about good money after bad," Mills said at an April 11 meeting. "This project is phenomenally expensive and the fact of the matter is...we don't have the cash flow to pay the interest to do this project, and it's a serious problem. Somehow we're going to have to come to an accommodation to figure out how we're going to get this fixed."
UMass officials have said the Boston campus is on track to end the year with a deficit of between $6 million and $7 million, driven in part by the long-term infrastructure project, which includes work on utilities and the parking garage, that's ballooned over its initial budget.
"This is the most significant investment made by any administration in the 40 years since construction flaws in the substructure became known," UMass President Mary Meehan said in a statement. "Completing this project is elemental to meeting the needs and potential of Boston's only public research university, an institution that is critically important to the City and the Commonwealth."
The complete capital plan will be released in the next several weeks, according to Baker's office.