MOORHEAD — Gov. Tim Walz’s bonding wish list for state campuses includes $17.3 million for an extensive renovation of Weld Hall, the oldest building at Minnesota State University Moorhead.
If the governor’s bonding request is approved by lawmakers, construction would begin in the fall and conclude early in 2022 on the renovation, which would include new classrooms, a new entrance and new roof.
Plans also call for restoring the balcony in Glasrud Auditorium, which was dismantled in 1968. The auditorium is used for lectures and theatrical productions.
Weld Hall, built more than 100 years ago, is a fixture on campus and houses the English, music, theatrical performance and entertainment industry technology programs.
MSUM President Anne Blackhurst called Weld Hall the university’s “most historic and distinguished campus building” in a statement Monday, Jan. 13, after the governor’s higher education bonding recommendations were released.
“Nearly every MSUM student has at least one class in Weld Hall, and the building’s auditorium is home to events and activities that benefit thousands of students and community members,” Blackhurst said.
The renovation will eliminate $8.4 million in deferred maintenance, Walz said.
“Every Minnesotan deserves access to opportunities that will lead to a bright future, and for many, that means attending a higher education facility,” Walz said. “But insufficient space, aging facilities and outdated technology on college campuses aren’t just holding our students back — they’re holding Minnesota back in the face of a workforce shortage that’s impacting every corner of the state.”
MSUM also is requesting $9.3 million for repairs to address “deficiencies in campus facilities.”
Walz viewed Weld Hall during a campus tour in October that included a visit to Glasrud Auditorium.
“It has a lot of character built into the building,” said Brenda Norris, MSUM’s executive director of facilities management.
The renovation will include new classrooms, each to accommodate 24 or 25 students, equipped with varying degrees of technology. The project already has received $628,000 for design work and consulting, Norris said.
The proposed Weld Hall renovation is among $121.2 million of recommended college and university capital bonding projects. Walz also is recommending $142.5 million for asset preservation upkeep projects. Weld Hall ranked third on Minnesota State's list of capital projects.
“The capital projects and asset preservation work included in the governor’s proposal would have a direct impact on the success of our 350,000 students by improving campus teaching and learning environments, enhancing STEM” — science, technology, engineering and math — “classrooms and labs, and streamlining critical student support services,” said Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State.