When you are the only college in the entire Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System – (and that includes 31 public universities and colleges on 54 campuses) which does not have a dedicated science building – it’s not exactly something to brag about. Metropolitan State University in St. Paul boasts more than 60 degree offerings and more than 10 graduate level programs. The school has been rapidly growing its Nursing and Health Science programs over the past few years and is in desperate need of more space. Currently the school is seeking $35.86 million in bonding funds to build a Science Education Center.
Metro State’s enrollment has been steadily increasing and a new science building will allow the school to add five more science degrees along with a Professional Science Master’s degree in Ecology and Environmental Science. I believe one of the best arguments for building this new science center is that it directly correlates to Minnesota’s goal of increasing graduates in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. To top it off – it also meets the growing demand for science graduates in the Twin Cities – positions are expected to increase by 14 percent in this decade.
Metro State’s graduates already have a wonderful reputation of staying in the metropolitan area – in fact following graduation 79 percent of grads stay and serve communities in the Twin Cities. With the addition of a state-of-the art science building, the Twin Cities will welcome even more highly educated science majors into the workforce – helping strengthen our economy.
The University is already growing in other ways. Recently Metro State leaders reached an agreement with Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood representatives on a plan for the development of a parking ramp and student center on the St. Paul campus. The size and location of the parking ramp along with the design and efforts to create a pedestrian friendly environment all were taken into consideration in the final plans.
If included in this year’s bonding bill, Metro State’s new science education center will include nearly 66,000 square feet of new space and it will feature multiple labs, classrooms and academic support space. I urge members of the Minnesota Senate Capital Investment Committee to strongly consider funding this very worthwhile project. And to residents living in the Twin Cities, if Metro State has made a difference in your life or someone you know, consider reaching out to your elected officials and letting them know you’re watching, and you care.