The University of Minnesota's response to Dayton's bonding bill

This just in:

University of Minnesota officials have reviewed Governor Dayton’s 2012 Capital Budget Recommendations as they relate to the U’s capital bonding request.

“Governor Dayton has been a vocal and tireless advocate for the University of Minnesota, and we are thankful for his support. We realize the challenge Governor Dayton faces when weighing the many worthy statewide capital projects. While Governor Dayton’s bonding recommendations for the University of Minnesota fall short of our request, University of Minnesota leadership looks forward to working with him and the Legislature on funding important building and infrastructure projects that will create jobs and enhance the educational experience for University of Minnesota students,” said Kathleen O’Brien, vice president, University Services.

The university is requesting $209 million in this year’s bonding bill. Dayton’s proposal funds $107 million of that request, including the Combined Heat and Power Plant and improvements to the Itasca Biological Station. The governor’s recommendation provides $20 million of the $90 million university officials requested for maintenance of existing facilities, known as HEAPR (Higher Education Asset Preservation and Renovation).

“While we are grateful for Governor Dayton’s support of these projects, we are disappointed in the greatly diminished level of funding for HEAPR,” said O’Brien. “Given that the U manages 29 million square feet of property statewide and more than 70 percent of our facilities are more than 30 years old, we are deeply concerned about our ability to properly steward our investment at the governor’s recommended level of funding.

“These and other elements of the University of Minnesota’s bonding request represent shovel-ready projects that will advance the academic, research, and public engagement mission of the institution while creating more than 4,000 jobs for Minnesotans.”