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House approves bonding bill changes, despite objections from Fargo legislators

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The House has approved a reworked bonding bill for projects on college campuses.

The House version of the bill calls for $80 million in bonding, and $19.9 million from the state’s general fund. The original Senate bill had $152 million of bonding.

One project that was taken out of the bill by the House was a $10 million project to build a new Harris Hall on the NDSU campus. That’s an ag-products development center.

Rep.Karla Rose Hanson (R-fargo) called that decision “short-sighted.”

"For us to remain a resspected research institution in North Dakota, especillay doing research on agriculture -- one of our major industries -- we need these projects to go forward," Hanson told her House colleagues. "Dilapidated buildings do not help us attract the best and brightest talent. "

Hanson said substandard buildings that don't meed code do not help students and staff get the work done.

Rep. Jim Kasper (R-Fargo) wondered why the Appropriations Committee did not allow NDSU to go ahead and fundraise for Harris Hall, as the bill allows UND to raise money for Gamble Hall.

"That's all we need, if that's where we're at as far as bonding," Kasper said. "To not allow NDSU to be able to raise those funds on their own, I think is a mistake."

Rep. Don Vigesaa (R-Cooperstown) told his House colleagues there are other bonding bills still pending – so the discussions will continue.

Another NDSU project – Dunbar Hall – was scaled back from $51.2 million to $40 million. Hanson said she hopes that project will also be restored to the Senate level.

"Frankly, this building (Dunbar) is an embrassment," Hanson argued. "It jeopardizes the safety of the students and the staff who walk through those doors every day."

The bill passed on a 68 to 20 vote.

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