DOBSON — Addressing next year’s budget, Surry Community College President Dr. David Shockley said he knows times are tough, but said infrastructure needs have reached the critical point on the campus.
“Knowing how tight things are right now, we’re asking that our budget be restored to the 2011-2012 funding level, and are only asking for the exact numbers we had at that time,” Shockley told the board during a budget work session last Tuesday. “That would restore the eight percent local reduction incurred last year.”
Shockley is asking that his local funding be restored to $2,241,000 next year, up 8.5 percent from the current year’s budget of $2,065,000.
“If we can do that, we’ll be fine meeting our local needs,” he told the board of commissioners during the meeting.
But a capital need he described as a “hefty request” is expected to cost in the millions.
Shockley is seeking a total of $2.2 million, spread out over four years at $550,000 a year, to repair a leak in the closed-loop hot water system on the campus.
“We need to fix a rapidly deteriorating heating system,” he said, noting that the central campus boilers are more than 50 years old.
He pulled out a pipe with a gaping hole that was removed from the system recently.
“When you look at this request we realize its huge,” he said. “But we know we have a serious hot water leak because we continuously have to add water to our closed system.”
The college president said the time has come.
“We’re at the point that we have to do something,” he said. “There is no more waiting. If we were to lose the main line, we’d lose the heating for the main core of buildings on campus.”
Shockley said that over the past several years he has been able to divert $850,000 from the campus equipment fund from the state to a local fund.
“We have asked to be able to do that for one more year, but at this point we don’t know whether they’ll allow us to do it one more time,” he said.
While he realizes it will be nearly impossible for the county board to fund the entire request in a single year, Shockley said he is running out of options.
“I know it’s irrational to ask for it all at one time, but that’s what we need,” he said. “We will try to find a way to meet our needs from other sources, and are trying to be team players by solving our problems as best we can in-house, but this represents a true, real budget.”
The county board is expected to consider the request while preparing next year’s budget.
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.