U of M, MnSCU officials make pitch for facilities money

It’s about renovation this session. (Jeffrey Thompson/MPR News)

Leaders from the state’s two public university systems made a pitch to state lawmakers today for money to fix buildings and build new lab and science facilities.

The University of Minnesota is asking for $233 million. Campus officials say many of the U’s spaces are cramped, out of date, and often not up to code.

Vice President Pam Wheelock says having up-to-date buildings is critical for instruction.

“You know, it’s hard to prepare our students to meet 21st-Century industry needs when we’re using early-1900s facilities,” she said.

Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed $119 million for the university — or about half its total request.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system has asked for a little more than the U — about $235 million.

Associate Vice Chancellor Brian Yolitz says much of it is for renovation and maintenance.

“You know, if you’ve got a bucket sitting in your classroom, and it’s dripping, that sometimes deters from the learning environment,” he said.

MnSCU also wants to build a science education center at Metropolitan State University and a clinical sciences facility at Minnesota State University – Mankato.

Gov. Mark Dayton also proposed giving MnSCU about half its request.