BISMARCK — The North Dakota Senate backed a compromise package of higher education capital projects Tuesday, April 23, that provides more state support for replacing a chemistry lab building at North Dakota State University.
The Dunbar Hall project has long been a priority for the university, as the building is considered a fire safety hazard. A House-Senate conference committee agreed to $40 million in bonding, $8 million in cash and authorization to raise $3.2 million for a total of $51.2 million.
The Senate's unanimous approval puts the bill one step closer to the finish line in the legislative session's final days. The House still must give its blessing before it goes to Gov. Doug Burgum.
As previously passed by the House, the bill relied more on fundraising for the Dunbar Hall project. West Fargo Republican Rep. Michael Howe has warned that it wasn't feasible to raise that much money for a general education building.
Lawmakers in 2015 approved funding for Dunbar Hall that didn't materialize because it was dependent on revenue targets that the state missed.
This year's compromise bill also includes funding for replacing Harris Hall, an agricultural research and instruction building at NDSU. For that project, $60 million is divided evenly between bonding, cash and fundraising. The House previously removed money for that project.
A NDSU spokeswoman didn't immediately return an email seeking comment.
The bill also includes $32 million in bonding and cash for a communications and fine arts building project at Valley City State University. It provides $15 million in bonding and cash for the University of North Dakota's plans to construct a new building to house its business school to go along with authorization to raise $55 million.