Dayton announces bonding proposal

The governor recommended the U receive about $150 million for capital projects.

by Jessie Bekker

While the University of Minnesota would receive more than $150 million from the state for infrastructure projects under Gov. Mark Dayton’s recent bonding proposal, that figure is still $83 million less than the school asked for.
The University’s capital request from the state totaled more than $236 million. 
Dayton announced recommendations Friday to fully fund three University projects: science and engineering laboratories in Duluth and — for the Twin Cities campus — a new health sciences center and a plant research facility to house the school’s rare-plants collection.
Dayton also included $55 million  in Higher Education Asset Protection and Renovation funds to help update the University’s infrastructure and electrical systems in 70 buildings across Crookston, Duluth, Morris and the Twin Cities campuses. The school originally requested $100 million to fund HEAPR projects. 
Also absent from Dayton’s request was $16 million to renovate classrooms and labs at Crookston, Duluth, Morris and Twin Cities campuses, as well as $22 million to rebuild humanities classrooms in Pillsbury Hall on the East Bank.
If approved by the state Legislature, the proposal would allot $27.2 million to create a 51,000-square-foot science building at the school’s Duluth campus, $66.7 million to a high-tech health sciences building and $4.4 million to a plant growth research center aimed at genetics and agriculture education.
The school has also asked for an additional $38.85 million amid a state budget surplus. The request would help fund health initiatives, upped cyber security and mining research. 
The University, however, did not ask Legislature for a tuition freeze this year.
University students, faculty and leaders say they will continue to push the state Legislature to fulfill the school’s requests, according to a press release.
“By funding these projects, we will ensure that students across Minnesota are prepared to solve the complex challenges they’ll face in their future careers,” University President Eric Kaler said in a statement.