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Fixing All The Things That Need Fixing On Cal State Campuses Would Cost $4 Billion

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Christopher Rooney is a skilled tradesman at CSU Northridge. (Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/LAist)
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You know that sinking feeling you get in your stomach when a pipe breaks and you get the plumbers’ bill? Well imagine taking a look at an invoice for close to $4 billion.

That’s what it would cost if you total up everything on all 23 campuses of the California State University system that needs to be fixed and maintained — the heating and air-conditioning systems, the sidewalks, the locker-room lockers, the elevators, and on and on.

Some of that work is contracted out, but a lot of the daily maintenance falls to a relatively handful of trades workers. Christopher Rooney, a metal worker at Cal State Northridge, let LAist tag along while he made his rounds. When he’s not crawling around in air-conditioning ducts, he’s got plenty more to do. Mostly by himself — the only other metal worker on the campus recently retired. He told us:

“A lot of times there will be what they call trip hazards, cement will move and stuff or crack on walkways, and we have to constantly fix that. Handrails get broken, we fix those because once metal breaks it tends to be sharp and people can get hurt on that.”

Everything Rooney and all of his fellow trade workers on all of the Cal State campuses is in this 282-page report. Be warned — it isn’t light reading.
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This Is What A $4 Billion Maintenance Backlog Feels Like To A Cal State Worker (LAist)