New expanded vision for UMore Park needed, Board of Regents told
Contacts: Daniel Wolter, University News Service, (612) 625-8510,
(651) 485-3214 (cell)
(11/10/2005) —The University of Minnesota needs to move quickly to develop a new expanded vision for UMore Park, the universitys outreach, research and education park in Rosemount, Minn., a university committee told the Board of Regents today. External pressures combined with the universitys obligation to responsibly manage its assets necessitate a plan to maximize the academic and economic of the property that spans 12 square miles in Dakota County.
There is no academic institution in the country that has this kind of opportunity, said Charles Muscoplat, university vice president and dean of the College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences. UMore Park is the largest plot of undeveloped land owned by any university in a major metropolitan area in the United States. The size is comparable to Golden Valley or Edina and has potential to greatly enhance the universitys mission. Its a major asset to the university and has the potential to play a critical role in our academic and economic future as well as enhance the public good.
Muscoplat heads a steering committee commissioned by university President Robert Bruininks to inventory the UMore assets, examine market and external pressures impacting the property and develop a plan for the future of the land. In October, the university issued a request for proposals for a strategic vision for UMore Park. Selection of a firm is expected in early 2006.
UMore Park used to be far outside of the Twin Cities, so its varied uses made sense, Muscoplat said. But the area has rapidly become one of the fastest growing parts in the metro area, putting pressure on us to find a more complete purpose for UMore Park.
UMore Park is 7,686 acres that was deeded to the university by the U.S. military in 1947. It currently is home to some of the universitys research in agriculture, architecture, landscape architecture, biological sciences and veterinary medicine. Much of the land is also leased out to tenants for purposes that range from a broadcast tower for Minnesota Public Radio to a police gun range.
In other action, the Board of Regents:
Approved the appointment of John Finnegan as dean of the School of Public Health;
Approved a $269.1 million state capital budget request, $206.1 million which would come from the state of Minnesota;
Approved a supplemental state budget request of $14.4 million in one-time funds for unexpected fuel cost increases and critical equipment needs at the School of Dentistry and College of Veterinary Medicine, and $8.3 million in reoccurring funds for energy assistance.
The next meeting of the Board of Regents will be Dec. 8-9, 2005. More information on the board can be found at www.umn.edu/regents.