When Minnesota legislators return for the 2018 session next week, they're going to be working on a bonding bill - and Minnesota State University Moorhead is hoping they'll be included.
Larry Pogemiller is Higher Education Commissioner at the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. He spent Wednesday afternoon taking a tour of buildings on the MSUM campus in need of renovations. Four buildings need general upkeep, such as new doors, windows, HVAC and other improvements. But one building, Weld Hall, is in need of much more. Pogemiller says the building needs major updates.
"I mean, you look at the ceiling, and it's wood! That's really cool. But they have ramps and things that don't fit into the ambiance of the building right now that need to be replaced, they want to create an open to the back of the building here, to the public, so that it's not just a campus building and that it's accessible to the public in terms of, that they feel it's part of the community. And then of course they have to do the basic infrastructure things, like any rotting things in the foundations, the heating and cooling, all of those things they have to do."
Pogemiller says appropriations for the renovations are not being asked for until the 2019 session. But this year, MSUM needs the funds to plan the renovation. He says the building is over 100 years old and is an historic relic that students love.
"When you have buildings that are historic and functional at the same time, it attracts students, and it attracts community. And that's what I think they're trying to do here, because of how vital this institution has been to this community all these years - they want to make sure that it stays vital, and important."
The total of MSUM's funding request is estimated at $9.3 million. The renovation of Weld Hall is estimated to cost up to $17.4 million. Pogemiller says Governor Mark Dayton has allocated about $1.5 billion for this year's bonding bill.