Regents to take up capital request

The U will ask the state for $170 million for general upkeep and renovations to campus buildings.
December 12, 2012

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents will vote on the University’s 2013 capital budget request Friday in its final meeting of the year.

The nearly $200 million plan includes $125 million for upkeep and maintenance of University buildings.

The request, which asks for about $170 million from the state, is part of the University’s six-year capital improvement plan that extends from 2013-18.

Also included in the request is $14.5 million in funding for Eddy Hall, which would be renovated for undergraduate, international and transfer admissions, according to the upcoming meetings docket.

Besides Eddy Hall, the plan includes funding for the design of a new laboratory facility on the St. Paul campus and for the Tate Laboratory of Physics.

The University will request funding for the entirety of both projects in the 2014 capital request, according to the docket.

Pending regents approval, the board will submit its bonding request to Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature at the end of the month.

Regents will also take up the Amundson Hall renovation and a new policy for “entrepreneurial leave.”

Amundson Hall renovation

On Thursday, the regents’ Facilities Committee will vote on a $27.6 million addition and infrastructure upgrade to Amundson Hall, which houses the College of Science and Engineering’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.

The project is funded in part by a $10 million donation by University alumnus Robert Gore and a $5 million donation from the Dow Chemical Company, according to docket materials. Remaining costs would be covered by CSE and other University funds.

Amundson Hall would see a 40,000 square foot addition to the north side. The Gore Annex expansion would include six new floors and 60 new offices for faculty, fellows and graduate students, according to a November news release.

The addition would also include new chemical laboratories and study spaces.

The expansion would allow CEMS to take on additional undergraduate and graduate students. If approved, construction will begin in March and conclude in July 2014.

New leave policy

The Faculty, Staff, and Student Affairs Committee will vote on a policy that would allow faculty inventors to take time off to commercialize a University-based invention.

“Entrepreneurial leave” would give inventors up to one year of unpaid leave, according to presentation materials.

University President Eric Kaler said the leave is conducive to the University’s land-grant mission to provide outreach and develop opportunities to the state.

“An important way to do that is to be able to take ideas we have at the University and move them out into the marketplace so they can benefit the citizens of Minnesota,” he said.

Kaler believes the new leave could attract new faculty to the University.

New administrators

The board will vote to approve two new administrative members Friday. Brian Herman from the University of Texas will replace outgoing Vice President for Research Tim Mulcahy, and Katrice Albert from Louisiana State University will take over as vice president for equity and diversity.

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