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U approves slimmer capital request

Posted by: Jenna Ross Updated: October 14, 2011 - 9:45 AM

The University of Minnesota's regents approved the U's 2012 capital request Friday morning. Here are the line items, listed in order of priority:

HEAPR (repair and renovation projects): $90 million

Old Main Utility Building Renovation: $81 million

Itasca Facilities Improvements: $6 million

Eddy Hall and Space Optimization (demolishing two other buildings): $21 million

American Indian Learning Resource Center: $11 million

Of the $209 million total, the state would pay $169 million. The U would pay $40 million.

That's missing one big project  -- the Ambulatory Care Clinic. That project had been a part of the request when the regents discussed it last month. As I wrote earlier this week, it was dropped because the U, the University of Minnesota Physicians and Fairview Health Services are still negotiating a plan to finance their share of the cost.

"This is a somewhat modest request compared to recent years," said Kathleen O'Brien, vice president of University Services.

Two former legislators on the board voiced their support for the slimmer request. Regent Steve Sviggum called the total amount "reasonably prudent." Regent Laura Brod called it "a practical approach."

Several regents emphasized the importance of the repair and renovation funding.

"There have been multiple instances where that was cut," said Regent David Larson. That caused the renovation and retrofitting of many buildings, including Northrop Auditorium to occur "at a date later than was in the best interests of the state and of the university. And it actually ended up costing us more."

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