10-year capital plan addresses infrastructure needs, growth in research

South Dakota's public university system has prioritized a list of building construction projects and infrastructure upgrades as part of a new 10-year Capital Improvement Plan. While legislators will be asked to approve it when they convene in Pierre next month, no state tax dollars will go to finance any of the construction projects.

The projects are part of the $204.5 million Capital Improvement Plan approved by the South Dakota Board of Regents at its meeting earlier this month. Similar 10-year campus construction plans were authorized in 2001 and 2005, and completed ahead of schedule due to favorable bonding capacity.

"In each case, all of these projects have been completed without coming to the state to request general tax revenues," said Jack Warner, the regents' executive director and CEO. "While state law does require us to seek legislative authorization for projects paid for with other funds, it is important to note that no state tax dollars have been, or will be, tied to any of these capital improvement projects."

About $105 million of the total amount will be financed from the state's Higher Education Facilities Fund (HEFF), which is the 20 cents of every tuition dollar students pay dedicated to construction, maintenance, and repair on the campuses. The remainder of the building projects' costs – about $99.5 million – will be paid for primarily from private donations secured by the universities and their non-profit foundations, along with some federal grants.

"This is an ambitious plan, but certainly in line with the size of our public university enterprise, with its nearly $800 million operating budget and a physical infrastructure valued at $1.4 billion," said Jack Warner, the regents' executive director and CEO. "This investment, made over a 10-year term, will address aging infrastructure needs, remodel and update academic and research buildings, and meet the needs of a growing student population in South Dakota," he said.

The building projects on the new 10-year plan, and the total project cost for each, include:

Black Hills State University

  • Jonas Science Renovation, $2,500,000
  • E.Y. Berry Library Renovation, $4,500,000

Dakota State University

  • Information Systems Building, $10,000,000

Northern State University

  • Johnson Fine Arts Center Renovation and Addition, $7,750,000

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

  • Research Center, $37,040,000

South Dakota State University

  • New Headhouse and Greenhouses, $3,785,000
  • Architecture, Math, and Engineering Building, $17,082,800
  • Visual Arts Facility, $12,400,000
  • Performing Arts Center, $33,103,713
  • New Cow-Calf Research and Education Unit at Volga, $3,706,000

The University of South Dakota

  • Science, Health, and Research Lab Building, $30,000,000
  • Patterson Hall Renovation, $6,500,000
  • Dakota Hall, $7,500,000

Seven other projects on the list will fix infrastructure issues on the campuses, paying for utility upgrades, energy efficiency projects, mechanical overhauls, and street improvements. The infrastructure projects will be paid for with $28.6 million in HEFF funds and $14.3 million from the campuses' annual maintenance and repair allocation.

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