Historic Preservation:

Cost to Restore Historic Properties at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

RCED-98-51: Published: Feb 6, 1998. Publicly Released: Feb 27, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the: (1) number of historic properties located at historically black colleges and universities (HBCU); and (2) estimated cost to restore and preserve these properties.

GAO noted that: (1) all 103 historically black colleges and universities responded to GAO's survey; (2) respondents identified 712 historic properties that were owned by the schools; (3) most of these properties were at a small number of schools and were mostly buildings rather than structures, sites, or objects; (4) about half, 323, of the historic properties identified were already on the National Register of Historic Places--the official list of sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture; (5) the others were either eligible for the National Register on the basis of state historic preservation officers' surveys or considered historic by the colleges and universities; (6) according to information the schools provided, an estimated $755 million is needed to restore and preserve the 712 properties; (7) the cost estimates include the capital improvement costs to restore and preserve the historic properties, such as making the properties more accessible to people with disabilities, replacing roofs, and removing lead-based paint or asbestos; (8) the respondents were asked not to include routine maintenance costs; (9) some of the schools identified a total of about $60 million in funds that had already been set aside to restore and preserve specific historic properties; and (10) the schools used a number of different methods to calculate the estimated restoration and preservation costs.

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