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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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RCTC upgrades included in Gov. Dayton's 2018 bonding proposal

RCTC upgrades included in Gov. Dayton's 2018 bonding proposal

Upgrades to the RCTC campus were included in the 2018 public works bonding bill proposed Tuesday by Gov. Mark Dayton. 

The governor is recommending $22.9 million be used to remove outdated classroom and office space  — including the demolition of Memorial and Plaza Halls  — and renovate and expand existing academic buildings. Of the total expenditure, $15.3 million would come from general obligation bonds.

The project has been included in Dayton's request each of the past couple sessions, but has failed to make its way into the final version passed by the Legislature. If funded in 2018, construction on the project would begin this fall and likely be completed by spring 2020.

Statewide, the bonding bill includes $1.5 billion in building repairs and other public infrastructure projects. Under Dayton's plan, about a third of the funding would be directed toward higher education institutions. Additional funds would be used for upgrades to state buildings, affordable housing construction and repairs to water infrastructure.

“Since 2011, we have made many important investments in Minnesota’s aging classrooms, buildings, and other critical infrastructure,” Gov. Dayton said in a news release. “But those investments have not kept pace with the enormous need for infrastructure improvements across Minnesota. Years of underinvestment have shortchanged our economy, our higher education institutions, and the vitality of our communities."

Dayton's bonding bill proposal marks the start of negotiations between his administration and the GOP-controlled Lesgislature. State Rep. Dean Urdahl, a Republican who chairs the House Capital Investment Committee, said in a statement that the bill faces “an uphill battle." 

“Last session, the Legislature passed a $1 billion, geographically balanced bonding bill which focused heavily on infrastructure and transportation needs,” Urdahl said Tuesday. “Any bill that takes shape this year will need to follow that same blueprint.”

Of note, two local projects missed the cut and were not included in Dayton's proposal. Olmsted County had requested $10 million for the Graham Park redevelopment project, while the City of Rochester had sought $5 million to expand a bus garage storage facility for the city's transit system. 

Cover graphic: Rendering of RCTC's proposed renovation project

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