A bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-SC, that would extend funding for the preservation of buildings and monuments on historically black colleges and universities, passed the House of Representatives unanimously Monday. It will be the first time HCBUs have received money for preservation programs in seven years.
“$10 million was authorized annually for five years. The bill before us today extends that authorization by the same level for an additional seven years,” Clyburn said in a speech commending the passage of the bill on Monday.
Clyburn’s bill will continue funding the Historic Preservation Program for HBCUs. The funding was originally proposed in 1998 as part of a Congressional Black Caucus request to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to help preserve an estimated $755 million in repairs to 712 historic sites on historically black colleges and universities.
The $50 million would fall well short of the 1998 GAO estimate. There has been no money earmarked since 2009 when a previous version of the bill lapsed.
“Although it will not provide all of the funding the GAO estimated it’s needed to preserve every threatened site, HR295 will continue the progress congress has made in preserving these unique treasures,” Clyburn commented on the difference between the estimated cost of repairs and the amount secured.
Several universities in South Carolina will benefit from the funds offered in Clyburn’s bill. Clyburn specifically cited the Chappelle Auditorium and Arnett Hall at Allen University as benefiting from previous version of the HBCU Preservation Program.
The Charleston Post and Courier reports that the bill is expected to pass the Senate as well at a later date.