Repair of aging buildings at the U-of-M and state colleges and universities is a major priority in Governor Mark Dayton’s 1.5-billion-dollar bonding proposal. In prior years the U-of-M has often requested money for new buildings, but President Eric Kaler says this time they made a conscious decision to focus on renewal. He says, “You look at Pillsbury [Hall renewal], you look our projects in Greater Minnesota, you look at Glensheen [historic mansion in Duluth] — all of those really have a common theme of renewal…. The idea of a new bright shiny object, if you will, is simply not as attractive right now as a prudent investment.” Kaler says because bonding dollars would go to building maintenance, the impact on tuition would be “very minor, if at all.”
In addition to money to repair aging buildings, state colleges and universities also would get 63 million dollars for upgrades. Interim Chancellor Devinder Malhotra says there would be “15 major capital projects on Minnesota State campuses in nearly every region of our state, projects that are designed… to provide a much-needed expansion of our educational and training programs.”
The governor has proposed a 2018 bonding bill totaling 1.5 billion dollars — nearly double what Republicans are talking about.
More in this interview – Q&A excerpts from Tuesday’s news conference – President Kaler and Interim Chancellor Malhotra: