Why you soon won’t see as many old buildings on MnSCU campuses anymore

wrecking ball

Demolishing new buildings appears to be a new cost-cutting strategy at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system.

CFO Laura King told trustees this morning she had a “very aggressive strategy” for demolition to address the “surplus of space” that MnSCU has on various campuses.

Up till now, MnSCU has demolished buildings only as part of larger construction projects. But MnSCU officials say this new proposal would save millions of dollars in operation and maintenance costs normally wasted on the old buildings.

King told trustees:

“We think the demolition and right-sizing initiative is, frankly, overdue. .. Because we have some things we don’t need in places where we don’t need them.”

Brian Yolitz, MnSCU’s associate vice chancellor for facilities, says MnSCU is drafting a list that so far contains up to a dozen buildings. Many of the buildings were built in the 1950s and ’60s, are mothballed or underused.

Trustees have asked to receive a revised list at a meeting later this month.

Yolitz told me campuses have retained such buildings for years in the way a homeowner keeps an extra chunk of wood or broken tool in the garage:

“Campus leaders have said, ‘Hey, I’m going to save this just in case. I’m going to save this facility space just in case. And probably, in all honesty, we’ll never use it.”

The new strategy is included in MnSCU’s proposed $228 million request to the state next year for construction and renovation projects.
Trustees are scheduled to vote whether to approve the request later this month.