The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

January 15, 2014

Civic center, treatment center make bonding list

Gov. Dayton releases 2014 capital project recommendations

(Continued)

But Mankato City Manager Pat Hentges said it will be difficult to excise the civic centers from the bill. There are other locally significant projects in the Twin Cities, too, so the civic centers aren’t unique in that respect.

The clinical sciences building was ranked ninth in the state's internal project rankings, Dayton noted. He also suggested the project's size worked against it.

The university isn’t giving up, though.

In a news release, MSU President Richard Davenport said he’d seek the help of local legislators and the medical community.

“It will require hard work to get those bills through conference committees to the governor, but we are very hopeful that if both the House and Senate recommend those bills, that the governor will add it to his list of recommendations," he wrote.

Dayton was willing to set aside those internal rankings for another higher-education project, though.

He included a $7.4 million request from South Central College to consolidate its agricultural, engineering and health care programs in its North Mankato campus.

Dayton said he wanted to prioritize science and technology improvements because he’s heard so much about jobs being unfilled for lack of skilled applicants.

The $64 million Regional Treatment Center request includes $56 million to remodel and add to the Minnesota Security Hospital, home to 375 mentally ill and dangerous residents. It also includes about $7 million to add to the space-crunched Minnesota Sex Offender Program.

The hospital remodel will, among other improvements, widen hallways and improve visibility, which should reduce assaults on staff.

“I can’t think of anything in the bonding bill that’s more pressing,” Union President Chuck Carlson said.

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