The University of Minnesota will ask state lawmakers to invest in infrastructure improvements on its satellite campuses next year.
The University’s 2018 bonding proposal requests $10.5 million from the state to renovate buildings on the Duluth, Morris and Crookston campuses. The proposal is part of a multi-year University plan to revitalize its coordinate campuses.
“To attract students, [the satellite campuses] have to be up-to-date with their buildings,” said University Regent Thomas Anderson.
Coordinate schools typically receive less money for repairs than the Twin Cities campus, said Rep. Jennifer Schultz, DFL-Duluth.
“This is a different approach than last year. Campuses in other parts of the state will help our legislative requests when we can get more support … in greater Minnesota,” said Schultz, also a University of Minnesota - Duluth economics professor.
Necessary renovations on each campus include: heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) upgrades, sprinkler system additions, classroom and research space optimization and handicap accessibility projects.
A.B. Anderson Hall on the Duluth campus is slated to receive $6.2 million for HVAC and modernization upgrades.
UMD has cancelled classes at A.B. Anderson Hall in the past due to poor air conditioning during hot weather, said Stephen Keto, UMD vice chancellor for finance and operations.
“It gets to be 97 degrees in the rooms,” Keto said. “One of the things we need to do is to replace the building systems on the inside.”
On the University’s Morris campus, the humanities building and Blakely Hall are scheduled to receive $4.8 million for classroom updates.
“The humanities building is one of our most heavily-used general purpose classrooms on campus,” said Bryan Herrmann, vice chancellor for finance and facilities at UMM.
The humanities building was constructed in the 1950s, he said, and many of the systems need improvements.
Blakely Hall would undergo renovations to make the building more handicap accessible if the proposal gains state approval, Herrmann said.
On the University’s Crookston campus, Dowell Hall and Owen Hall would receive $4.8 million in funding. These funds will be used to improve existing structures to meet demand for research space.
Andrew Svec, director of communications and PR marketing for UMC, said Crookston used to be a two-year institution. As more faculty transitioned into the now four-year program, demand for research space has spiked.
“As we’ve been replacing faculty who have retired, the incoming faculty have a much greater capacity, and experience for researching,” Svec said.
The “Greater Minnesota Academic Renewal” proposal will also be requested in 2020 and 2022, asking for $16 million in each of the two years for additional coordinate campus renovations.
“It’s vital for the University to address the asset preservation aspect of all the buildings we own,” Schultz said.
Routine maintenance will mitigate repair delays and cut costs, she said.
University of Minnesota regents will vote on the proposed 2018 state capital request during their Oct. 12 meeting.