U regents pass $1.3 billion capital plan

  • Article by: JENNA ROSS
  • Star Tribune
  • March 9, 2012 - 8:24 PM

The University of Minnesota has a new blueprint for buildings, renovations and repairs. Its Board of Regents on Friday approved a $1.3 billion, six-year capital plan for the system's five campuses through 2018.


About 75 percent of the price would be paid for by the state. Of that $987 million in state funding, $495 million would fund repair and renovation projects known at the Capitol as Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement, or HEAPR.

Regent David Larson said he worries that Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature don't see repair as a high priority.

"In the past, we've gotten whacked on that," he said. "If we do not take case of our facilities ... it ends up costing us significantly more than if we had spent the money at the right time."


Included on the list are:

• $85 million renovation of the Tate Laboratory of Physics on the Northrop Mall.

• Expansion of the rec center on the Crookston campus.

• Rehabbing of Pillsbury Hall on the East Bank.

• Funds to build research labs on the St. Paul campus, demolish obsolete buildings and create a pool for active learning classrooms.


The board reviews the six-year plan annually and specific projects on the list sometimes change or disappear. But it gives a sense of the leadership's priorities.

"This is, of course, the first plan developed in my presidency, and it reflects my long-term vision for this great university, system-wide," President Eric Kaler said. "It is driven by the key tentacles of our fundamental academic mission."

Senior Vice President Robert Jones told the board that faculty members and deans have voiced a pressing need for updated labs and a heightened desire to share facilities.

Jenna Ross • 612-673-7168

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