Minot, Wahpeton colleges get approval for repairs

BISMARCK N.D.

Legislators have approved changes in the financing of repair projects at Minot State University and the North Dakota State College of Science.

The Legislature’s Budget Section, which met at the Capitol Wednesday, agreed to allow Minot State to shift $44,500 from its deferred maintenance fund to replace the floor at the Minot State Dome.

The floor is in such poor shape that indoor track meets are no longer held in the building for safety reasons. The 2007 Legislature set aside $387,000 to replace the floor, but when the project was advertised for bids, the lowest was $431,500.

Members of the Budget Section said Wednesday that rebidding the project would not result in a lower price.

Rep. Matt Klein, R-Minot, said he had advised college officials to seek permission to use deferred-maintenance money to make up the gap. Sen. Bill Bowman, R-Bowman, agreed with the idea.

“I don’t like to see them spend more money than what they have to … but that is a facility that can generate wealth, not take wealth,” Bowman said, referring to the dome’s capacity for hosting events. “Any time you have a floor that doesn’t have the ability to do what it is supposed to do, it is costing you money.”

Separately, lawmakers agreed to allow the state College of Science to spend $350,000 left over from campus steam line repairs to replace water and sewer lines that serve the campus.

The lines have been deteriorating, and the process has accelerated because of recent flooding, said Mike Renk, the college’s vice president for administrative affairs. There will be extensive digging work anyway on the campus grounds because of the steam line project, he said.

The Legislature earmarked $1.67 million for repairs to the steam line, which provides heat for campus buildings. But when the project was advertised for bids, the winning company agreed to do the job for $350,000 less, Renk said in a memo presented to the Budget Section.

“The replacement of the water and sewer line has recently emerged as an emergency project,” Renk’s memo said. “The line started to fail last fall, and the recent flooding in the area has caused that line to deteriorate even faster than expected.”

The Budget Section is an interim committee of legislators. It includes legislative leaders from both the Republican and Democratic parties, and members of the state House and Senate appropriations committees.

–Associated Press



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