Lawmakers pass long-awaited bonding bill, send more than $75 million to UMN

After five special sessions, the Minnesota Legislature passed a $1.87 billion bonding bill.

The+Minnesota+State+Capitol+on+Nov.+18%2C+2018.

Tony Saunders

The Minnesota State Capitol on Nov. 18, 2018.

Samantha Hendrickson

After seven months and five special sessions, lawmakers passed a $1.87 billion bonding bill Thursday that includes more than $75 million in funding for University of Minnesota projects.

Lawmakers pushed the bonding bill past the May legislative session in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, many University infrastructure repairs were put on hold — until now.

The funds will go to various projects across University campuses, including $38.5 million for asset repair and maintenance across the University system, $29.2 million to replace the Child Development Building, $3.3 million to renovate the Chemistry Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory on the Twin Cities campus and $4.4 million to renovate A.B. Anderson Hall on the Duluth campus.

“With the Legislature’s action this week, the University will help lead the state’s economic recovery during this challenging period of our shared history,” said University president Joan Gabel in a University press release.

The University requested $317.2 million in capital investments from the legislature, and the newly-passed bill does not include funding for a clinical research facility. However, the legislation gave permission for the University to refinance current debt to help fund this project.

Sen. Kari Dzeidzic, DFL-Minneapolis, who represents part of the University campus, voted yes on the bonding bill, saying in a press release that it “creates much-needed jobs needed to boost our economy during the pandemic,” including on the University campuses.

Gabel also emphasized the importance of job creation in a University press release, and stated that the University is a vital part of Minnesota’s COVID-19 prevention — something the provided funds will help spearhead.