Building up education

Campus planning is finally setting its priorities straight.

Daily Editorial Board

News of the plan to demolish seven University of Minnesota buildings this year âÄî three of which are considered historic âÄî has upset many preservationists on campus. However, the University is acting in accordance with its capital planning and project management vision to provide the “highest possible value to the UniversityâÄôs students, faculty, and staff.”

Campus planners are following their own rules and putting functionality for students above priorities such as recreation and historic value.

The Veterinary Anatomy Building is among the buildings likely to be demolished over the summer. Boarded up in 1996, the building is structurally deficient in almost every aspect.

Rather than focus on this demolition plan as an isolated event, capital planning and historic preservation should be looked at on a broader scale.

In the past, the renovation of Northrop Hall and expansion of the Recreation Center have placed more value on recreation than education.

Now, funding is going toward a Biomedical Discovery District, a new physics and nanotechnology building and the renovation of Folwell Hall. Emphasis is back on education, exactly where it should be.

The estimated cost of campus maintenance for one year is $160 million. Funding accounts for only half of those needs.

Such daunting numbers require projects that maximize value to the University community to take precedence. Still, the University has spent $500 million on historic preservation to date.

A balancing act exists between education, historic preservation and recreation. Campus planners are nowrealizing in which order those priorities need to lie.