Kaler: Governor’s bonding recommendations symbolic of U’s impact on state

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler today praised Gov. Mark Dayton’s bonding proposal for the University, noting that it demonstrates his continued recognition of the institution’s impact on the state.

“We appreciate Governor Dayton’s generous support of University of Minnesota building projects,” said Kaler. “These infrastructure investments bolster our ability to recruit and retain the best and brightest Minnesota students, act as a talent magnet for world-class faculty and staff and inspire cutting-edge research and discovery. The Governor understands this strong connection between the state’s flagship research university and its business and innovation culture.”

Dayton’s proposal provides $100 million toward four U of M projects:

  • $70 million for Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR), used to maximize and extend the life of facilities that serve students, faculty and staff system-wide;
  • $18 million for the Veterinary Isolation Laboratories Replacement on the St. Paul campus, to strengthen Minnesota’s leadership in infectious disease research and protect the health of Minnesotans and livestock;
  • $4 million for the St. Paul Greenhouse Replacement, to provide hands-on learning opportunities for the state’s future plant geneticists, growers and environmental scientists; and
  • $8 million for planning and pre-design studies on two core health sciences facilities: Clinical Research Facilities, to house the Medical Discovery Teams and to conduct clinical research; and Professional Educational Facilities, to replace 40-year-old, outdated educational and training facilities, shared by all of the U’s health sciences schools, to better prepare students and residents for practice.

The investments in the health sciences facilities were recommended as part of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on the U of M Medical School, released earlier this year.

“Investing in new educational facilities will help Minnesota address future projected workforce shortages, training the next generation of health care professionals in facilities that model the best of current practice and the future of health care,” Kaler said.

Kaler said these essential HEAPR funds will begin to close the gap between repair and renovation needs and current funding levels. According to U capital planning officials, 35 percent of U of M buildings are more than 50 years old. They estimate that more than 70 buildings on the Crookston, Duluth, Morris and Twin Cities campuses and at research and field stations across the state are due for renewal funds.

“We are committed to being responsible stewards of public resources,” Kaler said. “HEAPR is cheaper. These critical maintenance funds bring aging buildings up to code, ensure energy efficiency and enable us to prepare students for successful careers in the 21st Century.”

Watch a short video about the University of Minnesota’s priority capital investment projects.

Read more about the U’s 2015 legislative request.

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