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Higher education board mulling over building costs

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - An independent report that includes a study of facilities on North Dakota college campuses shows that the state is $808 million behind on deferred maintenance costs, but there may be other ways the schools can utilize space.

The state Board of Higher Education is working with Paulien & Associates of Denver on a system-wide master plan that includes the building study. Company president Dan Paulien says the state needs to take "a real leap'' to address the problem.

The survey shows that North Dakota State University has the most number of buildings in critical condition, including a laboratory that has no running water.

Higher education board chairwoman Kirsten Diederich calls the $808 million figure "alarming,'' but says the space utilization study will help narrow down the board's 2015 budget proposal.