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Funding Cut for Repairs of Several State Buildings

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Several state buildings slated for possible repairs have been cut from the budget.

The rain is slowly making a mess at the state's Historical Museum. Communications Manager Michael Morain said the building is in desperate need of repairs and it's not just a leaky roof.

“There are problems with the skylight, the heating and cooling needs to be updated, the exterior walls need to be repaired, there are some major problems to the building that need to be fixed,” he said.

Plastic is protecting the wings of the planes hanging from the ceiling and the museum needs of a vapor barrier to help protect the more than 200 million fragile documents, photographs and artifacts housed in the building.

All projects that now will have to wait after lawmakers voted to give the museum nothing.

“It’s obviously disappointing. We were hoping the legislature would follow through with the governor`s original recommendation of $65 million,” Morain said.

Other buildings also ended up on the chopping block including the Wallace Building and the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, both of which have mold problems.

Sen. Matt McCoy, who helped chair the committee, said things will be different next year.

“We’re going to see the exact reversal of that, and we’re going to see a move from regent funding to state funding of our state buildings until these needs are met,” McCoy said.

$85 million was budgeted for the regents this year, which is money McCoy said won't be a sure thing next year until state buildings are taken care of.

“The governor wanted a pay as you go system, so I’m putting the word out that if I’m chair of this committee next year, any future appropriations for regents is going to be zero until we address these critical buildings,” McCoy said.

A big project that did receive funding is the leaky Capitol dome. $10 million was set aside for repairs, which will begin in the Fall.

Although the museum is in need of repairs, staff at the State Historical Building says it’s still open for business and they are always working to keep the building safe. They're hopeful next year they'll get the money needed for these important repairs.