U asks Legislature for an extra $74.5 million

  • Updated: December 12, 2008 - 9:51 PM

The University of Minnesota has requested an additional $74.5 million from the Legislature.

Despite some concern that it's the wrong time to ask for more money, Board of Regents members were buoyed by state economist and U Prof. Tom Stinson's recent comments that although institutions need to be cautious, "doing repair or renovation projects that are labor-intensive ... will help the economy."

On Friday, the board unanimously approved its capital request, which has two parts:

• $39.5 million for construction of a new Bell Museum of Natural History on the St. Paul campus

• $35 million for "critical" repair and renovation projects

"I do question whether or not we need to proceed at this time with the Bell Museum," said Regent David Larson before voting yes.

U President Robert Bruininks answered: "If this building was called Bell Hall, I doubt we would have very much discussion about it," emphasizing the museum's role in science education.

He stressed that the projects, if funded, are construction-ready.

JENNA ROSS

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