U of M focuses 2024 legislative request on supporting students and repairing facilities
At a time when nearly nine million gross square feet of U of M facilities are rated in poor or critical condition, the Board of Regents omnibus Finance & Operations Committee approved the University’s 2024 capital request for state investment on urgent renovations and updates to its publicly funded facilities across the state.
“This capital request advances high impact projects that help us provide the best possible experience for U of M students, not to mention a strong return on investment for state taxpayers by taking care of existing University facilities,” said Board Chair Janie Mayeron. “Not only is asset preservation the most cost-effective investment we can make in partnership with our state leaders to protect and extend the lifespan of existing facilities, it is an investment in students, faculty, researchers, and staff who will lead Minnesota’s future success and competitiveness. ”
With the Board’s approval, University leaders will pursue a $500 million request for Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) funds during the 2024 legislative session. The proposal is built around institutional priorities, as well as strategic guidance outlined in the University’s systemwide strategic plan, MPact 2025. Priorities include:
- Enhancing student-facing facilities and services, including libraries, student unions, academic support, student counseling facilities, recreation and wellness,
- Investing in high-demand academic programs and mission-support facilities,
- Right-sizing the overall amount of campus space,
- Advancing innovation in health sciences, agriculture and biotechnology, and
- Ensuring updates support inclusive, accessible and welcoming campuses.
Facilities in poor or critical condition have become increasingly prevalent, encompassing more than one-fourth of the roughly 33 million square feet of facilities the U of M manages across five campuses and in additional locations around the state.
In addition to approving the recommended 2024 state capital request, the Board also approved the recommended six-year capital investment plan during its October meeting.
Board also approves fiscal year 2025 supplemental budget request
The Board also approved a FY 2025 supplemental budget request of $45 million in recurring operational funds to help address a portion of cost increases and to keep costs lower for students by minimizing tuition increases. The University continues to face the challenges it outlined to the Minnesota Legislature a year ago, when similar funding was provided by the legislature on a one-time basis. This request seeks the same amount for the second year of the biennium, and is critically necessary to maintain the depth and breadth of University programming and impact on behalf of all Minnesotans.
As part of this supplemental request, the University is committing to cover a portion of projected cost increases through internal reallocations and cost reductions.
The Board also:
- Recognized faculty members awarded the distinction of Regents Professor.
- Received an update on University safety training processes.
- Received a report on the vision for the University’s Government and Community Relations.
- Approved a proposed Academic Affiliation Agreement with CentraCare.
- Approved Duluth campus plan to shape the physical campus environment in alignment with systemwide strategic priorities.
- Received a briefing on sustainable development goals and the University’s progress toward its goals.
- Received a report on the University’s diversity, equity and inclusion work, including a summary of results from the U of M’s first-ever Systemwide DEI Campus Climate Survey.
- Appointed and charged the Presidential Search Advisory Committee and discussed presidential leadership characteristics.
Presidential search: Listening sessions, virtual forum
The search for the University's 18th president includes community listening sessions in October as well as an ongoing Regents virtual forum. The Presidential Search Advisory Committee will hold listening sessions across the system in October for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members. Listening sessions will take place Oct. 17 (Twin Cities), Oct. 18 (Morris), Oct. 19 (Rochester), Oct. 20 (Twin Cities), Oct. 23 (Crookston) and Oct. 24 (Duluth).
The Board of Regents is scheduled to meet next on Dec. 7-8, 2023. Visit regents.umn.edu for more information.