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Legislature: BSU gets bonding for projects

BEMIDJI — BSU is among the many entities set to benefit from state bonding dollars approved Friday by the Minnesota Legislature. Gov. Mark Dayton must still sign the bill, but no objections are expected.

BSU has long been working toward securing bonding funds to help realign the campus, and approximately $13.8 million has now been approved by both the House and Senate to do just that.

Funds will allow the university to renovate or demolish four buildings on the BSU campus to better align the campus. Business and accounting classes will move to the top floor of Memorial Hall as it is renovated, Student Services will move to Decker Hall, and Sanford Hall will be demolished.

Scott Faust, BSU’s director of communications and marketing, said the money will also fund a design for demolition and reconstruction of Hagg-Sauer Hall. The design work will be done over the next fiscal year, with no firm timetable for eventual demonstration and reconstruction. The university anticipates that Hagg-Sauer will be replaced with a slightly smaller building and continue to be used primarily for the university’s liberal arts programs.

Also, BSU will benefit from funds, known as Higher Ed Asset Preservation or HEAPR, for its utility systems and mechanical needs.

Additionally, Red Lake will receive $6 million for school improvements.

Other local and regional projects slated to benefit from the bonding bill include further development for the Minnesota Department of Natural resources building and facilities in Bemidji, development and maintenance of the Heartland Trail, and $2.5 million for the Upper Mississippi Arts Center in Park Rapids.