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Three ND universities to launch fundraising campaigns

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Three North Dakota universities will soon launch fundraising campaigns.

Valley City State University will be launching a $25 million fundraising campaign.

The money would be for capital projects and scholarships.

"It's primarily in the area of an expansion to our fieldhouse, an indoor turf practice area, a 200 meter track, new locker room facilities, weight training rooms, and updated space for that part of our program," VCSU President Alan LaFave said.

LaFave said the current facility was built in 1961.

"At that time, we had seven coaches and 111 athletes," LaFave said. "Now we have 28 coaches with almost 300 student-athletes. So the space is needed."

But LaFave said there’s more to it than athletics.

"We also have some money in there for the renovation of McCarthy Hall, a building that's going to be repurposed for the School of Education," LaFave said. "We also have money for scholarships to continue to attract students and help them attain their education at an affordable price."

LaFave said now that the Board of Higher Education has approved the idea, work will begin on the methodology.

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Dickinson State University is working on a fundraising campaign that could involve partnerships with the Dickinson Public Schools, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, and potentially the city government itself.

"We want to turn some of the unused land on our campus into athletic fields, both for our sports team, and specifically our softball team," said DSU President Stephen Easton. "It would also be for youth and adult recreation."

Easton said the first phase is to build a “championship softball field.”

"Dickinson State has a tradition of some very strong softball teams, but we don't have a very good facility for them to play on," Easton said. "This will provide a facility equivalent to the quality of our softball team."

Easton said he’s hoping that field will be built in 2021, and be available for the team in 2022. He also said there are other plans in the works for athletic facilities that can be used by the schools and by the public at large.

Easton said a pool of money for construction and maintenance is available, and will be used.

"These are 'use-it-or-lose -it' type funds, so we have to use those funds in the biennium, or lose them," Easton said. "We will be contributing $300,000 of those funds."

Easton said while some people are aware of the big budget reductions, these funds cannot be used for ordinary expenses, like salaries, and can only be used for major construction or maintenance projects.

Easton said the overall fundraising effort will be in the $7 million to $8 million range.

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Minot State University will soon start a $40 million fundraising campaign – that will be run through the University’s foundation.

University president Steve Shirley said the money will be used in four primary areas.

"Scholarships, academic programs, academic facilities and athletics," Shirley said.

Shirley said in terms of scholarships, the University has identified some priorities.

"Scholarships for transfer students, scholarships for Native American students, scholarships geared for undergraduate research opportunities and programs, scholarships that could help in summer internships," Shirley said. "And graduate school scholarships."

As far as bricks-and-mortar, Shirley said the Minot State dome needs some updates.

"The dome is a 40-year-old building," Shirley said. "We did a major seating update in that facility this past year. But there are some other renovations on the horizon that we want to accomplish there as well."

Shirley said the football field’s artificial turf also needs to be replaced. But he said the top-of-mind priority is affordability for students.

"Part of maintaining the affordability is not just the tuition that you charge, but it's also the scholarships you have available that help students offset their costs for education," Shirley said. "That's going to be the largest portion of this particular campaign we're launching here."

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