The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Editorials

January 5, 2013

Our View: Don’t ignore St. Peter in any bonding plans

(Continued)

The treatment center houses more than 230 patients in the Minnesota Security Hospital and a portion of the nearly 700 in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program.

Dayton, during a visit to the center earlier last year, said millions of dollars in renovations and expansions are needed to address “the obsolescence of the building and just the inappropriateness of it for a therapeutic program.”

He mentioned concrete walls and hard-edged fixtures that make it more dangerous when a patient attempts to hurt himself or others. The Security Hospital’s split level design also makes it more difficult for staff to monitor patients and to move them when they’re being disruptive, according to the department’s request for more than $100 million in upgrades over the next five years.

“They convinced me that the request … is even more urgent than I realized,” he said back then. There doesn’t appear to be as much urgency today.

There are good arguments for bonding this year. Interest rates are at historic lows and competition for construction bids would be fierce, pushing contractors to sharpen their pencils more.

But whether the state goes with a full-bore bonding bill or Bakk’s “emergency” bill, the treatment center should be front and center for the state. It is their obligation — just as the Capitol building and the Governor’s Mansion — and it should not be ignored.

 

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