Legislative Update – March 7, 2018

Minnesota State describes how bonding request can transform lives of students and communities.

Minnesota State presented its $224.5 million bonding request to both the Senate and House higher education committees yesterday. In his testimony, Chancellor Devinder Malhotra thanked committee members for their support for Minnesota State. “We are honored to have the opportunity to tell our story on behalf of Minnesota State’s 375,000 students and 16,000 employees,” Malhotra said.

Malhotra shared his experience from his time at St. Cloud State University and Metropolitan State University. “Having served at two of our campuses I have experienced first-hand what you already know, and that is your investments can literally change the lives of students and transform the communities where our colleges and universities are located,” Malhotra said.

Joining Chancellor Malhotra was a panel from Century College who spoke about what the 2014 Digital Fabrication Lab, or Fab Lab, renovations at the college have meant to students, and why the bonding request is more than just brick and mortar. Michael Berndt, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Century College shared with committee members that the Engineering and Applied Technology Center project in this year’s bonding request, and all the requests that make up Minnesota State’s priority list, are more than just buildings. “These buildings create opportunities for students, support employers, and invest in local economies,” Berndt said.

Scott Simenson, ITT faculty and Fab Lab Director at Century College shared with committee members that the Fab Lab has been transformative for students. He said that Century College was the first lab in the region, which has provided many opportunities for local, as well as national partnerships. The Fab Lab is equipped with open source CAD/CAM software, allowing people to design and manufacture products. Simenson said that this up-to-date equipment provides a hands-on experience for students.

Katherine Lange, Aerospace Engineering Student and President of the Century College Engineering Student Club shared with committee members that she has participated in projects throughout her education at Century College in which she has used the Fab Lab extensively. She said the skills and knowledge she has acquired by working in the fab lab are necessary to meet the growing needs in the field.

The Fab Lab at Century College is one of many examples of how students’ lives can be transformed through legislative investments. Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Brian Yolitz provided further details to committee members about the other projects in Minnesota State’s request, as well as demonstrated the need for funding for asset preservation, or HEAPR. Yolitz said that the HEAPR request represents Minnesota States’ stewardship of taking care of academic space we already have and need, and said the specific focus of the $130 million HEAPR request is to keep students, faculty and staff warm, safe and dry.

Associate Vice Chancellor Yolitz said that the age and condition of the college and university academic buildings is why HEAPR is the Board of Trustees’ number one priority and makes up the largest part of the bonding request.

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