Minnesota is already an exceptional place to receive a post-secondary education – let’s keep it that way. As buildings deteriorate, facilities become obsolete, and our colleges and universities outgrow their infrastructure, we risk falling behind in the 21st century. Staying competitive in today’s global economy requires our ongoing commitment to maintain and protect the things that make Minnesota colleges and universities great.
This week, I toured the University of Minnesota to learn more about their infrastructure needs. This will be a topic of great importance this coming legislative session:
The University maintains a list of capital investment projects approved by the Board of Regents requesting funding from the state legislature. These building and infrastructure projects align with the strategic goals of the University to recruit and retain the best and brightest students, to recruit and support innovative and world class faculty and staff, and to inspire innovation, exploration and discovery, all while being responsible stewards of resources.
Below are the six projects that the Board of Regents is requesting be funded by the state during the the 2014 legislative session.
Total project cost: $100 million
$100 million in state funding
Maximize the effectiveness and extend the life of the University’s nearly 28 million square feet of infrastructure. The University allocates HEAPR funding systemwide using a formula based on total campus square footage and facility condition. HEAPR projects fall into four categories: (1) health, safety, and accessibility; (2) building systems; (3) utility infrastructure; (4) energy efficiency. List of projects.
Total project cost: $85 million
$56.7 million in state funding
Renovate the building’s obsolete labs and antiquated classrooms into vibrant, flexible spaces to bolster instruction, research, and support services of the School of Physics and Astronomy and the School of Earth Sciences. In addition, the project will ensure that Tate retains its architectural character as part of the Northrop Mall Historic District.
Total project cost: $45 million
$30 million in state funding
Construct a new chemistry and biology based experimental laboratory building on the St. Paul campus to become the home of non-medical life sciences fields such as plant pathology, animal infectious diseases, microbial systems, synthetic biology, and fungal evolution. The space will accommodate 30-35 researchers in these fields.
Total project cost: $15 million
$10 million in state funding
Design, renovate, and expand the existing Crookston campus wellness and recreation center to serve the growing resident population. The project will support the teaching and learning mission of the University by fostering student success and development.
Total project cost: $18 million
$12 million in state funding
Renovate strategic research facilities to remain nationally competitive and recruit and retain top faculty. The lab improvements will support research in areas such as bees, greenhouses, and aquatic invasive species.
Total project cost: $36 million
$24 million in state funding
Build a new facility to meet the research and undergraduate instruction needs of the Swenson College of Science and Engineering on the Duluth campus. In addition to chemistry and biochemistry instructional laboratories and space for research on environmental remediation and energy production and storage, the building will include sorely needed active-learning classrooms.