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Minnesota State, U of M lay out bonding priorities

University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel testifies Feb. 18 before the House Higher Education Finance and Policy Division regarding the university’s funding request for 2020. Photo by Paul Battaglia

Renewal, renovation and replacement: That’s what the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State system would like to gain from a bonding bill this session.

Stories of outdated facilities and lack of classroom space for growing programs were among the topics addressed at Tuesday’s meeting of the House Higher Education Finance and Policy Division, where the two multi-campus systems laid out their priorities and funding requests for 2020. No action was taken by the division, but what the schools want came into sharper focus.

For both Minnesota State and the University of Minnesota, over half of their funding requests would go toward Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement, or HEAPR.

In her first appearance before the division, University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel, spoke of “a massive maintenance backlog” that tops $4.8 billion in needed improvements for university buildings over the next decade, noting that half are 50 years old or older.

She was there to present a capital budget request of $317.2 million, including $200 million for HEAPR funds that would go toward 187 projects throughout the university system.

Gabel listed the university’s other funding priorities as being, in order of priority:

  • $29.2 million to replace the Child Development Building on the Twin Cities campus;
  • $4.4 million toward renovation of the Duluth campus’ A.B. Anderson Hall;
  • $65.6 million to create a new chemistry undergraduate teaching laboratory on the Twin Cities campus; and
  • $18 million to design a new clinical research facility for the Twin Cities campus’ medical school.

Minnesota State Chancellor Devinder Malhotra also spoke of a backlog of deferred maintenance that amounts to $2.3 billion over the next 10 years. He presented a capital budget request of $230.8 million, with $150 million for HEAPR funds. Most of those funds would go toward repair and replacement of roofs, boilers, chillers and electrical grids at 32 of its 54 campus locations.

Malhotra listed 15 other priorities in order of importance, with those at the top being:

  • $16.3 million to renovate nursing classrooms and labs at Anoka-Ramsey Community College;
  • $26.6 million for the renovation of classrooms and student services at Normandale Community College;
  • $17.3 million for a renovation and addition to Minnesota State University Moorhead’s Weld Hall; and
  • $14.7 million to renovate the Technology and Business Center at Inver Hills Community College.

Minnesota State also put forth a supplemental budget request of $54 million that is scheduled to be addressed Wednesday. Rep. Dan Wolgamott (DFL-St. Cloud) sponsors that request in HF3087.

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