Regents approve facility upgrade funding request

Liz Kohman

The Board of Regents approved University President Mark Yudof’s $239.8 million capital budget request Friday.

The request, presented to the board last month, obligates the University to raise $22.2 million and adds $31 million to the existing debt. The plan depends on state financing for the additional $186.5 million needed to fund the proposed projects.

“This is not an effort to rob the bank,” Yudof said. “It’s an effort to do a basic job of saying this is what we need, this is what it costs, and this is our order of preferences.”

Yudof said he understands the state faces difficult economic times, and the Legislature must make decisions about where to allocate money.

The capital from the budget request will cover renovations and construction on all four campuses.

The Department of Finance ranked the Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement appropriations fund highest compared with other state agency proposals, giving it first priority.

The $80 million of HEAPR money would support approximately 85 University projects systemwide.

Stewart McMullan, executive budget officer for the state Department of Finance, helped evaluate the proposals and said the ranking is one of the things the Legislature keeps in mind when allocating money.

Part of the HEAPR money will improve facility access for students and faculty with disabilities.

“These funds are critical to respond to the needs of students on campus,” said Bobbie Cordano, director of disability services.

Other projects from the capital request include the renovation of Nicholson Hall to create a study center for freshmen, improvement of greenhouses on the St. Paul campus and classroom improvements on campuses systemwide.

Capital requests are made to the state every two years. The Legislature will review the request and allocate funding next spring.

 

Liz Kohman covers
the Board of Regents.
She welcomes comments at [email protected]