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Walz, Flanagan propose $447M for state colleges and universities

Updated: January 13, 2020 06:44 PM

Monday, the Minnesota governor and lieutenant governor unveiled their bonding plan to invest in higher education.

Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan proposed investing $447 million in general obligation bonds as the third part of their four-part "Local Jobs and Projects Plan." The governor's office said the investment would be to maintain, update and modernize public college and university campuses across the state. Walz's office also said the funding would leverage an additional $41 million in state financing for a total investment of $488 million.

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The Democratic governor's higher education investment package is part of what he said will be around a $2 billion borrowing proposal, also known as a bonding bill.

Last week, Walz announced a plan to replace aging infrastructure and upgrade treatment facilities and his affordable housing proposal.

"Every Minnesotan deserves access to opportunities that will lead to a bright future, and for many, that means attending a higher education institution," Walz said. "But insufficient space, aging facilities, and outdated technology on college campuses aren't just holding our students back – they're holding Minnesota back in the face of a workforce shortage that's impacting every corner of the state. This critical funding would address that gap by providing the 21st-century education needed to prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow that our businesses are creating today."

Walz and Flanagan said supporting post-secondary institutions is necessary to provide students across Minnesota with a top tier education that will also help keep the state's economy growing. They added that the investment would also ease pressure on campus operating budgets.

As part of the plan, $142.5 million in funding would go to repair and replace buildings across the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system and $125 million would be for asset preservation across the University of Minnesota's campuses.

In a statement, University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel shared her thanks for the new plan.

"I want to thank Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan for their ongoing support of the University of Minnesota," Gabel's statement read, in part. "The governor and lieutenant governor recognize that investing in the University of Minnesota directly strengthens our entire state. They continue to show their commitment to the strong, foundational partnership between the state and the University, something for which I am immensely grateful."

You can see a breakdown of how the money would be allocated below.

State colleges and universities

Anoka-Ramsey Community College: $16.282 million for construction of nursing and business classrooms and labs on the Coon Rapids campus, which would reduce deferred maintenance by $4.9 million.

Normandale Community College: $26.634 million to complete Phase 2 of the College Services building project, which would eliminate $5.4 million in deferred maintenance.

Minnesota State University Moorhead: $17.29 million to design Phase 1 of the Weld Hall renovation project, which would eliminate $8.4 million in deferred maintenance.

Inver Hills Community College: $14.653 million to renovate the Business Building, which would eliminate $7.4 million in deferred maintenance.

Saint Paul College: $937,000 to design the renovation of classroom space, which would address $3.8 million in deferred maintenance.

Minneapolis College: $10.254 million to complete Phase 1, which would reduce deferred maintenance by $9.6 million.

Vermilion Community College: $2.576 million to design and renovate six general purpose classrooms within the Classroom Building and the College Center, which would eliminate $1.3 million in deferred maintenance.

Central Lakes College: $8.275 million to design the renovation of the Student Services and Academic Support spaces, as well as the physical education and athletic facilities, which would eliminate $516,000 in deferred maintenance.

Northland Community and Technical College: $2.22 million to renovate classroom and lab spaces to meet the needs of four health science programs and the computer networking program, which would remove $776,000 in deferred maintenance.

Minnesota State University Mankato: $6.691 million for design and renovation to prepare for the replacement of Armstrong Hall, which when completed, would reduce deferred maintenance by $36.5 million in total.

Winona State University: $3.218 million for design of a net-zero energy building that would replace two older buildings, which would eliminate $9.2 million in deferred maintenance.

Lake Superior College: $985,000 for design of a new integrated manufacturing workforce lab, which would reduce deferred maintenance by $2.5 million.

North Hennepin Community College: $6.598 million for design to replace the Fine Arts Center with a new arts education studio, classrooms, and performing arts space, which would reduce $6.2 million in deferred maintenance.

Metropolitan State University: $3.923 million for the design and renovation of a cyber security teaching and research lab, which would reduce deferred maintenance by $326,000.

Pine Technical and Community College: $635,000 to design the renovation and construction of the technical and trades labs, classrooms, faculty space, health sciences spaces, and student support space, which would reduce deferred maintenance by $276,000.

University of Minnesota

Child Development Building Replacement: $29.2 million to complete predesign, design, renovate, construct, furnish, and equip a new Institute of Child Development facility, which will replace the Institute's current building, allow undergraduates, researchers and graduate students to co-locate, and create improved research facilities. It would remove approximately $11.9 million in maintenance backlog.

A.B. Anderson Hall Capital Renewal: $4.4 million to renovate and restore 36,670 square feet and add 830 square feet in A.B. Anderson Hall on the Duluth campus, including upgrading the mechanical systems, life safety equipment, fire protection, and architectural finishes. It would remove approximately $4 million in deferred maintenance.

Chemistry Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory: $65.6 million to demolish an outdated facility, and predesign, design, renovate and build a new lab space for undergraduate chemistry on the Twin Cities campus. It would remove approximately $20 million in deferred maintenance.

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