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DCTC project part of state bonding bill

The flurry of activity at the capitol over the last couple days looks like it will have a direct impact on one Rosemount institution. Included in bonding bills passed by both the Minnesota Senate and House is a project to renovate 118,000 sq. ft. at Dakota County Technical College.

"This is a good day for us," said DCTC president Dr. Ron Thomas.

The House and Senate passed slightly different versions of the bill Monday, but both included the DCTC project. Because of the differences, the borrowing bill went back to the Minnesota House, which forwarded the bill to Governor Mark Dayton.

Dayton signed the bill Friday.

DCTC has requested $7.23 million in 2012 and $6.9 million in 2014 to renovate 118,000 sq. ft. of classroom, lab and shop space in the transportation and emerging technologies programs. The project will bring the departments up to date and eliminate more than $3.5 million in deferred maintenance.

The school hasn't had an update to its transportation careers and technical careers program areas since 1973, the same year the Vietnam War ended. The areas are outdated, poorly ventilated and technologically insufficient.

"We've been waiting well over six years. This is long overdue," Thomas said of the funding.

Both the Senate and House seemed to focus on education in their bills. Nearly $200 million of the proposal will go to state-run colleges and universities, with the Capitol getting $44 million to begin a renovation project that eventually will cost upwards of $220 million. The bill sprinkles money around to projects such as flood prevention, transit, roads, bridges and home foreclosure prevention. The bill also includes $50 million that the state Department of Employment and Economic Development can hand out for economic development uses.

The state will sell bonds to get the funding and repay the money over 30 years. The Senate approved its version of the bill 45-22. And the House approved its version 99-32.

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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