U approves $77 million leg. request

The money will go toward a new Physics and Nanotech building.

Conor Shine

The University of MinnesotaâÄôs Board of Regents approved a request for $109.7 million in state funding for building projects at its Friday meeting.

The request includes $77 million for the Physics and Nanotechnology building on the Twin Cities campus, $10 million to the American Indian Learning Resource Center in Duluth and $5 million in repairs to the schoolâÄôs Itasca research outpost in northern Minnesota.

Funding for the physics building was part of a $1 billion bonding bill Gov. Mark Dayton proposed last week. Republican legislators oppose the bill and donâÄôt want to borrow in the face of the stateâÄôs $6.2 billion budget deficit.

The bill also included $35 million in Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement funding to fix leaky roofs and replace out-of-code elevators around campus and $12.5 million to defray the cost of moving several laboratories affected by Central Corridor construction.

The UniversityâÄôs request is nearly identical to the plan the board reviewed in December, and it would require that school contribute $43.5 million to the projects. A similar proposal was presented to the Legislature last year, but the University received only HEAPR funds and a few million dollars for physics building planning.

Vice President for University Services Kathleen OâÄôBrien said if funding is provided, construction on the physics building, which will be located directly north of the ScholarâÄôs Walk, would begin this summer.