New Legislation Proposes $530 Million to Preserve Historic Buildings at HBCUs

Article excerpt

New legislation endorsed by a cross-section of the Congressional Black Caucus would provide substantially more money to rehabilitate historic buildings and structures at Black colleges.

H.R. 1606 would authorize $530 million to support preservation of historic buildings at HBCUs, a huge increase from the $29 million that Congress appropriated during the mid-1990s. Yet, sponsors say much has changed during that time to justify the increase. One major reason is a comprehensive inventory taken of HBCU historic sites that shows tremendous need for financial help.

In an exhaustive yearlong study, the U.S. General Accounting Office uncovered 712 historic sites at HBCUs. Preserving those sites, the agency said, would cost about $755 million.

By proposing $530 million, the new bill calls on the federal government to provide 70 percent of the cost of preserving these structures. Colleges and universities would have to raise the remaining 30 percent on their own.

A 30 percent match, if approved, also would be a victory for HBCUs. …