BOR working to upgrade facilities

Katrina Sargent

Katrina Sargent

Governor Rounds’ son went to North Dakota State University; the reason, according to Rounds, was that SDSU was not even close to NDSU in regard to laboratory facilities.

There have been a number of large donations to SDSU recently to help increase research capabilities; however, there are also a number of existing buildings that are in need of repairs.

The Board of Regents (BOR) has asked for $74.5 million for maintenance and repairs throughout the state colleges.

At SDSU, the BOR plan sets aside just over $16 million for repairs on Agricultural Hall and the Dairy Microbiology Building. These repairs include infrastructure upgrades, lab remodels and mechanical system upgrades, as well as necessary upgrades to the fire alarms and ventilation in the basement and on the third floor of Agricultural Hall, which was built in 1953. According to the BOR bonding plan, the money will help the Dairy Microbiology Building, which was built in 1962, meet “necessary life-safety” standards. These upgrades include sprinkler system installation, fire detection upgrades and removal of asbestos.

The BOR would like to bond the necessary funds through the South Dakota Building Authority. They are asking for $74.5 million, but so far Governor Rounds will only agree to $65 million of that. According to Rounds, $65 million is all that can be currently handled. He suggested that the BOR look outside to private sources to provide the rest of the funding.

“We are continuing to work with legislators on the full $74.5 million project,” said Tad Perry, the Regents’ Executive Director.

With the current plan, there will be a yearly lease for approximately $5.2 million over 25 years. According to their plan, students from across the state will pay half of the annual lease, and the state will take care of the other half.

The BOR hopes to establish a fund for sustaining maintenance and repairing campus buildings. Their goal is to make an annual investment of two percent of all the buildings’ replacement values.

“The proposal for the state to match the students’ contributions to maintenance and repairs as recommended in the governor’s budget will provide funds for an annual source that is equal to two percent of the replacement value of the facilities. This is the minimum that should be spent annually on maintenance and repair,” said Perry.

Other buildings on different regental campuses that are slated for repair include the Science Research Building at Black Hills State University, the Habeger Science Center at Dakota State University, the Paleontology Building and Chemistry/Chemical Engineering Building at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, three buildings at University of South Dakota, including the Churchill-Haines Laboratory, the Akeley Lawrence Science Center and the Health Sciences Simulation Center in Sioux Falls.

The last time improvements were made was before the U.S. landed on the moon, which needs to change, said Rounds.