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Editorial Cartoon: Peace in Gaza
Editorial Cartoon: Peace in Gaza
Published April 19, 2024

Panel passes most of U’s request

House lawmakers backed $149.3 million in bonding and sent the bill to another committee.

The University’s capital bonding proposal received a boost Thursday as a House committee backed most of the request.

The House Higher Education Finance Committee suggested $149.3 million in capital bonding for the University, and presented their recommendation to the Capital Investment Committee.

The University is seeking $155.5 million and Gov. Tim Pawlenty recommended a $76.6 million bonding package.

The Republican-led committee recommended funding for all of the University’s proposed projects, but made some changes.

“We reduced some of the projects, suggesting that the University seek increased private funds in those areas,” said Chairman Doug Stang, R-Cold Spring.

University officials were pleased with the committee’s recommendations.

“We’re gratified that the House Higher Education Finance Committee has recognized the needs of the University,” said University Services Vice President Kathleen O’Brien.

“It appears that when they put their proposal together, they were trying to keep our programs alive, but get us to implement our other financing sources,” she said.

The largest part of the recommendation is a $90 million contribution to the University’s general repair fund, used for routine building upkeep.

The committee also recommended full funding for most Twins Cities campus projects including improvements to Kolthoff Hall, the Education Sciences Building and the Academic Health Center.

The only reduction to a Twin Cities campus project regarded planning for Carlson School of Management expansion.

The University wants $1.7 million for the project and the committee recommended $1 million.

The additional $5.5 million in recommended reductions from the University’s request were for projects on the Duluth and Morris campuses.

The committee supported half of the requested $8 million for an expanded recreational center in Duluth and did not support any of the $1 million request for a football field in Morris.

“Overall our committee focused on the science labs and classrooms,” Stang said.

The committee also recommended full support for the University’s $20 million bonding request for a joint genomics research facility with Rochester’s Mayo Clinic. It suggested that funding should come from the Jobs and Economic Development Finance Committee.

The genomics project was moved “because we did not want this competing with other University requests,” Stang said.

Donna Peterson, the University’s associate vice president for government relations, said the recommendation is sufficient to continue with all of the University’s projects.

Peterson said the capital bonding proposal should work its way through the committee process within a week. It will then move ahead for a full House vote.

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