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University of Minnesota response to the revised Minnesota House of Representatives' 2014 bonding bill

May 6, 2014

The following is a statement from University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler regarding the revised House of Representatives’ bonding bill passed this morning in the Ways and Means Committee:

“The revised House bonding bill provides full funding for one of six priority projects that comprise the University’s 2014 capital investment request,” Kaler said. “All six of the projects in our package are essential to operating a world class land-grant university in the 21st Century.

“Minnesota students deserve up-to-date and efficient learning and research spaces if they are to prepare for the modern work environments they’ll be expected to enter. That’s why it’s particularly important that the Legislature increase the amount of funding to renew our existing facilities through HEAPR [Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement].”

The revised House bill also provides $51.5 million for a new Bell Museum of Natural History. The Bell was established by the Legislature in 1872 as the state’s museum.

“The University of Minnesota recognizes the Bell Museum as a great asset to the state,” Kaler said. “However, the University’s position on this project has been clear and consistent. We support funding for the Bell Museum as long as it does not divert money from projects requested by the Regents for the University of Minnesota. The University has great infrastructure needs system-wide, across its 29 million square feet. These priority needs require full support from our state policymakers.”

The revised House bill provides full funding for one U of M project, $56.7 million for renovations to Tate Laboratory.

The revised House bill provides partial funding for four more projects:

  • $30 million of $100 million requested for HEAPR, to maximize and extend the life of current U facilities;
  • $8.7 million of $12 million for the research laboratory improvement fund, which includes the St. Paul campus aquatic invasive species and bee laboratories;
  • $1.13 million of $10 million for improvements to the University of Minnesota Crookston Wellness Center; and
  • $1.5 million of $24 million for a new chemical sciences and advanced materials building on the Duluth campus, to provide research space to advance Minnesota’s mining industry while safeguarding the environment.

The revised House bill excludes funding for a new microbial sciences research building on the St. Paul campus.

For more information about the University’s 2014 capital investment request, visit z.umn.edu/6stepsforward.

Twin Cities Campus: