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Bonding vetoes put projects on hold

Dakota County Technical College will not receive state money to make upgrades to the campus due to line item vetoes Governor Tim Pawlenty made to the state's bonding bill.

The governor cut several million dollars from the proposed $1 billion bill including $6.8 million for upgrades to DCTC.

"It's too bad. I wanted some new lights and brights and garage doors," said dean of transportation and technology Mike Opp. "It's tough."

Included in the bill were plans to remodel 118,000 sq. ft of the college's transportation and technology section. In all, the project would have remodeled about 25 percent of the campus. Plans called for improvements in the electrical systems, air quality and technological capabilities within the automotive, heavy construction, heavy-duty trucks, nanotechnology and engineering departments.

In addition to improving technical systems the college also planned to redo some of its labs and shops to better suit the students and the programs that serve them. The area has not been updated since the 1970s.

The college had hoped to fund the improvements in two phases through the 2010 and 2012 bonding bills. The first phase would have including design and development of the project and the completion of the first phase of construction. The second phase would have finished the project.

Leading up to session the college had several groups of senators and state representatives visit the college to see the need. After the visits Opp said he felt confident the college would be included in the bonding bill and it was. Both the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives passed the $1 billion bonding bill, which included the project.

However, Pawlenty took a hard line when it came to higher education spending and cut many of the projects proposed for colleges in the bill including DCTC's.

Opp said the college will try again when the next bonding bill comes around in two years.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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