Thursday, April 5, 2007

University of Minnesota, Rochester
If you fund it, they will come...

An update on University of Minnesota Rochester from KTTC:

Chris Woodard
Updated: April 3, 2007, 5:34 pm

ROCHESTER, MN -- The only thing growing faster than the size of the new University of Minnesota Rochester campus, is the budget they'll need to get it completed.

Hmm... It is growing like Topsy, somehow this is a familiar story.

As UMR's plans change they're asking the city step in and help them foot the bill.

Mr. B. is shocked, shocked.

At the Monday city council meeting the university asked for several million dollars from the city.

It's money the city is willing to spend, even if it's not exactly being used for what it was set aside to do.

UMR Provost David Carl says, "This is going to be a fantastic opportunity for our city."

The Southern Minnesota version of a chopstick factory ?

It's an opportunity that's coming with a price. A few months after construction began the university decided they needed more room.

Carl says, "As we looked at the additional programing opportunities that the university has in Rochester our expectations grew."

Original plans called for the college to take 30-thousand square feet of space at the cities downtown galleria. About a month ago plans changed and they'll now be more than double that size.

Of course more space means more money.

Who would have guessed?

Council member Marcia Marcoux says, "You look at what they're spending to me that means they're doing a first class job."

There is another interpretation possible, and it is not very flattering.

Monday night the city agreed to give the university 4-million dollars to help out with the new and improved plans which include a lot of top line equipment.

That money is coming from the local sales tax fund which was previously established to allow the set-up of a permanent campus.

Marcoux says, " I think there was a little discrepancy as to whether it was to be permanent or whatever but it was to be for the development and I think by that we meant other than just internal, in a small way, on the current campus. So this fits that."

Please tell me what the above crapspeak means. Marcoux blithely dismisses the permanent/temporary distinction with the galling "or whatever."

While the soon to be downtown campus is not permanent, the university has agreed to a series of leases that could keep them there for at least 15 years.

Obvious questions arise. When does temporary become permanent? Does the university just plan to walk away from this increasingly expensive many million dollar investment? Will they give it back to the Galleria? Sell it to the University of Phoenix?

The city is also working on a deal that would give the school 750-thousand dollars in tax abatement funds to cover construction cost's for the building's owner.

As of right now, all construction is on schedule and while a little bigger than planned, the university still plans to be in place by August.

Mr. Bonzo believes that eventually a little leadership is going to be required to extricate ColdState's higher education system from the large hole being dug. This will require a governor - remember Arne Carlson ? - who can take the flack. OurLeader will also have to start being honest with the people and the legislature - remember Mark Yudof ?

Bonzo circuits going down, down. Please do not reboot. Let me recover...

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