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U of M tour highlights $232 million in bonding bill requests

University of Minnesota officials led a tour Tuesday of some of the major projects that they’d like to see funded in the 2014 legislative bonding bill.

The state cost of the U’s proposals comes $232.7 million.

Other bonding requests from local governments and state agencies could bring the bonding bill wish list to $3 billion before the session starts next year. Gov. Mark Dayton has said it will likely be pared down to $1 billion in priorities by the time the Legislature votes.

The university’s requests include classroom, laboratory and infrastructure projects.

Tuesday’s tour includes four of the projects on the Twin Cities campuses. Here’s the U’s summary of them:

  • Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR). Total project cost: $100 million
    $100 million in state funding to maximize the effectiveness and extend the life of the University’s nearly 28 million square feet of infrastructure. The University allocates HEAPR funding system-wide using a formula based on total campus square footage and facility condition. HEAPR projects fall into four categories: (1) health, safety, and accessibility; (2) building systems; (3) utility infrastructure; (4) energy efficiency.
  • Tate Science and Teaching Renovation. Total project cost: $85 million
    $56.7 million in state funding to renovate the building’s obsolete labs and antiquated classrooms into vibrant, flexible spaces to bolster instruction, research, and support services of the School of Physics and Astronomy and the School of Earth Sciences.  In addition, the project will ensure that Tate retains its architectural character as part of the Northrop Mall Historic District.
  • Microbial Sciences Research Building. Total project cost: $45 million
    $30 million in state funding to construct a new chemistry and biology based experimental laboratory building on the St. Paul campus to become the home of non-medical life sciences fields such as plant pathology, animal infectious diseases, microbial systems, synthetic biology, and fungal evolution. The space will accommodate 30-35 researchers in these fields.
  • Laboratory Improvement Fund. Total project cost: $18 million
    $12 million in state funding to renovate strategic research facilities to remain nationally competitive and recruit and retain top faculty.  The lab improvements will support research in areas such as bees, greenhouses, and aquatic invasive species.

University officials also have two project requests in Greater Minnesota:

  • Crookston Wellness Center. Total project cost: $15 million
    $10 million in state funding to design, renovate, and expand the existing campus wellness and recreation center to serve the growing resident population. The project will support the teaching and learning mission of the University by fostering student success and development.
  • Duluth Chemistry and Material Sciences. Total project cost: $36 million
    $24 million in state funding to build a new facility to meet the research and undergraduate instruction needs of the Swenson College of Science and Engineering on the Duluth campus.  In addition to chemistry and biochemistry instructional laboratories and space for research on environmental remediation and energy production and storage, the building will include sorely needed active-learning classrooms.

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