Sioux Falls campus having money problems

Sioux Falls campus having money problems
The first shovelful of earth hasn't been turned yet but South Dakota's new seventh university in Sioux Falls already is experiencing money woes.

The state Board of Regents will wrestle with that problem when they meet and it amounts to not only an obstacle for the emerging new campus, but an embarrassment, as well. At present, the regents don't have enough money to follow through on the plans they presented to state lawmakers this past session.

The state Legislature wrote a check for $8 million for the new campus, with the money earmarked for a classroom and administration building that would have 52,000 square feet of space.

Now, a new report to the regents indicates that money won't be sufficient. How the regents intend to handle this issue remains to be seen, but no one should be surprised that there is a money problem and it is one that we predict won't go away.

Here's why. The approval by the Legislature of this state's seventh university campus at a time when capital needs on other campuses go begging was potentially one of the largest miscalculations ever visited on South Dakota taxpayers. While it is true that Sioux Falls is growing in population like no other place in the state, it's also true that the investment made in other campuses around the state was to offer college degrees for residents no matter where they live – including Sioux Falls.

Taking this critical first step of entrenching a new state university in Sioux Falls will siphon off students from other campuses, even though those campuses have a presence at USDSU – now renamed South Dakota Public University and Research Center.

In fact, the taxpayer investment made at the state's other campuses is now in jeopardy and the early financial problems involving the new campus as seen by the regents this past week is only the beginning.

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