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Governor Tim Pawlenty signs the bonding bill as Alison Davis-Blake and Thomas Sullivan

Gov. Tim Pawlenty signs the state bonding bill on June 1 flanked by Alison Davis-Blake, incoming dean of the Carlson School, and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost and Thomas Sullivan.

Pawlenty signs bonding bill on campus

By Rick Moore

June 1, 2006

For the second time in two weeks, Gov. Tim Pawlenty came to the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus to sign a major piece of legislation. On Thursday (June 1) in the atrium of the Carlson School of Management (CSOM), the governor signed the bonding bill that includes $26.6 million in state funding for an expansion to the Carlson School.

Overall, the bonding bill commits nearly $1 billion for public building projects around the state, and it authorizes $158.4 million in funding (with $115.7 million coming from the state) for capital improvement projects at the University of Minnesota. In addition to the Carlson School appropriation, the bill includes funding for a new Labovitz School of Business and Economics on the Duluth campus ($15.3 million), a biomedical sciences research building on the Twin Cities campus ($40 million), $3.5 million for the University's research and outreach centers ($500,000 for Cedar Creek, $500,000 for the Cloquet Forestry Center, and $2.5 million for the West Regional Outreach Center in Morris), and $300,000 for the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory in Willmar.

The bill also includes $30 million for Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) funds, which are used for general repairs and maintenance projects across the University system.

"These are lasting and historic investments, and we are so grateful for a job well done," said Sullivan. "This legislative session was successful because of the strong partnership between the University and the state of Minnesota."

Pawlenty spoke of the importance of the projects in the bonding bill in terms of how they position Minnesota to compete nationally and internationally. He cited the Carlson School's evolution into a highly ranked business school, and expressed his support for expanding the University's research efforts in the biosciences.

"Clearly, one enormously important strategic asset for the state of Minnesota... is the University of Minnesota," Pawlenty said. "As we look to the future for the University, we have a wonderful opportunity, but the world is changing rapidly so we need to make sure we're all rowing in the same direction." Setting the pace through strategic positioning is very important, he noted.

"These are lasting and historic investments, and we are so grateful for a job well done," said Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Thomas Sullivan, who spoke before Pawlenty at the signing ceremony. "This legislative session was successful because of the strong partnership between the University and the state of Minnesota." The new Carlson School expansion will help address an acute demand for the school's top-ranked undergraduate programs. "This expansion is about opportunity, and right now we are only able to serve about 12 percent of applicants," said incoming CSOM dean Alison Davis-Blake, who also spoke at the event. She said the new facility will enable the school to serve 50 percent more people when it opens in 2008--many of whom will live and work in Minnesota, found companies here, and contribute to the economy of the state. "The Carlson School of Management's expansion is very important to the future of our state," said Davis-Blake, who will take over as dean on July 1. UMD's Labovitz School of Business and Economics has similarly outgrown its current space. The new building will allow for program growth in undergraduate, M.B.A., and distance-education programs. While the Legislature did not vote to approve the University's request for a new biomedical sciences research facilities authority--which would have allowed $330 million in state general obligation debt to go toward building five new research buildings at the U over the next decade--it did approve a new biomedical research building on the Twin Cities campus. The facility will be constructed adjacent to the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research and will allow for the expansion of research programs. On May 24, Pawlenty signed the bill approving a new $248 million on-campus football stadium. The University hopes to begin construction of the stadium this fall and finish in time for the 2009 season. Also pending Pawlenty's signature is $5 million to support academic programs at the University of Minnesota, Rochester.

To view the streaming video of Gov. Pawlenty speaking at the bonding bill signing ceremony, visit Bonding Bill Ceremony.