$100 million in HEAPR funding tops University of Minnesota 2016 capital request priorities

As part of the University of Minnesota’s 2016 capital request of the Legislature, U of M officials today emphasized the urgency for $100 million in critical Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) projects to maximize and extend the life of facilities that serve students, faculty and staff system-wide. Forty-three percent of U of M buildings are more than 50 years old. These critical maintenance funds will bring aging buildings up to code, ensure energy efficiency and enable the University to prepare students for successful careers in the 21st century.

"I thank Governor Dayton for his strong support of the University in his bonding bill, and I look forward to building our partnership with the Legislature this session,” said U of M President Eric Kaler. “The University’s 2016 capital request projects will help us keep the state at the forefront of emerging knowledge and educate the professionals and leaders of tomorrow.”

The University is requesting $236.3 million in this year’s bonding bill for six priority projects that will renovate facilities and provide students access to 21st century learning tools:

1.       $100 million in funding for HEAPR, systemwide funding to renew and bring buildings up to code for health, safety and accessibility purposes.

2.       $27.2 million in funding for the Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science Building, a 51,000-square-foot science and engineering building on the U of M Duluth campus. The facility will include flexible wet and dry labs, modern utilities, environmental controls and safety accommodations to support all STEM programs at U of M Duluth, creating rich learning opportunities that the UMD’s current chemistry building (almost 70 years old) is not able to support. The University will invest $13.6 million for this project.

3.       $66.7 million in funding to create a new Health Sciences Education Facility for the University’s Academic Health Center on the Twin Cities campus to support interdisciplinary team-based learning and care. The project will replace over 100,000 square feet of outdated facilities that do not support fundamental changes under way in the education and training of today’s health care professionals. The University will invest $33.4 million for this project.

4.       $4.4 million in funding to build a Plant Growth Research Facility on the Twin Cities campus to protect the University's rare-plants collection and provide hands-on learning opportunities for Minnesota's future plant geneticists, growers, and agriculture and environmental scientists. The current facility, built in 1974, is deteriorating and does not provide appropriate space for the critical hands-on research and teaching. The University will invest $2.2 million for this project.

5.       $16 million to fund Academic and Student Experience Investments, used to convert obsolete spaces on the Crookston, Duluth, Morris and Twin Cities campuses into modern spaces to meet the needs of today's programming and provide new learning opportunities across Minnesota. The University will invest $8 million for this project.

6.       The University is requesting $22 million to support a renovation of Pillsbury Hall. The funding requested will renovate the building’s obsolete science facilities into modern teaching, learning and research spaces to serve over 6,000 students studying humanities programs. The University will invest $11 million for this project.

"All of the projects on our list are critical to producing a prepared Minnesota workforce for the 21st century and to providing our faculty with facilities to teach and conduct groundbreaking research," said Kaler. "The U is uniquely positioned to achieve strong results for Minnesota, its economy and citizens’ quality of life, but we need adequate laboratory and classroom facilities to do so."

Governor Dayton’s recommendation provides $153.3 million of the University’s request, including full funding for three of the projects: the Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science Building, the Health Sciences Education Facility and the Plant Growth Research Facility.

The University is also requesting a modest fiscal year 2017 supplemental budget proposal:

  1. $19 million in one-time funding to upgrade the University’s network to improve cyber security data protection systemwide for students, faculty, staff and public users.
  2. $10.5 million in recurring funding to restore funding for two critical health programs formerly financially supported by UCare. This will support family medicine clinical training in Duluth, Mankato and the Twin Cities, as well as the University’s Mobile Dental Clinic.
  3. $3.6 million in recurring funding to revitalize Minnesota’s mining region through research coordinated with key stakeholders across the Iron Range.
  4. $3.25 million in recurring funding and $2.5 million in one-time funding to improve access to quality health care across Minnesota, investing in the Community University Health Care Clinic and the Rural Dentist Associate Program.

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