Regents approve 2010 capital investment request

The University has a list of projects requiring $240 million in total funding.

by Taryn Wobbema

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents approved the 2010 request for funding from the state Friday, a sum of $193.3 million. The money will go toward the renovation and construction of buildings in the University system. The bulk of the request is $100 million for Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) funding, dispersed to the University system for prioritized repairs and renovations. Specific projects make up the rest of the request. On the Twin Cities campus, interior renovations to Folwell Hall would cost $34.5 million and a new Physics and Nanotechnology building is estimated at $80 million. The University has to pay one-third of the projects outside of HEAPR, totaling $46.7 million. Combined with the stateâÄôs portion, the total request reaches $240 million. Regents voiced concern that the state will hesitate to fund the physics building because it surpasses what University President Bob Bruininks calls the âÄúpsychological thresholdâÄù of $50 million. Regent Dean Johnson urged administrators to complete a comprehensive list of projects needing HEAPR funding so lawmakers will understand how badly the University needs those funds. Historical allocations show the state significantly reduces its giving toward HEAPR; last year the University requested $100 million and received only $35 million. Vice President for University Services Kathleen OâÄôBrien assured the board the University has established a âÄúvery solid HEAPR listâÄù and will provide the state with information to prove their case for $100 million. The state Legislature will consider the UniversityâÄôs request for funding when it convenes in February.