ND Senate backs new med school buildingBISMARCK — The state may see a new medical school building on the University of North Dakota campus after a Wednesday vote.
By: TJ Jerke, Forum News Service
BISMARCK — The state may see a new medical school building on the University of North Dakota campus after a Wednesday vote.
Senate lawmakers voted 34-13 in favor of a $55.7 million appropriation to add to the $68 million to expand the School of Medicine, which was approved by the Senate on Tuesday in the higher education budget.
The additional money will allow the medical school to build a new facility across the street from its current location in Grand Forks.
The money for a new facility comes after the Legislature authorized a space study to determine the suitability of the existing medical school space and the amount of new space that may be needed to help meet needs of the growing state. The study produced three building options, with different funding levels.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s budget proposal included $68 million for Option 2, which would have only expanded the current building and provided more classroom space.
The House will need to pass the higher ed budget bill and the additional funding for the med school.
“We should do it because we can,” said Sen. Robert Erbele, R-Lehr. “If we have the opportunity to do one-time spending projects that provides greater efficiencies and payback in the future, we should consider it.”
He said building the facility in a new location would not disrupt the ongoing School of Medicine’s operations and would save the state $6 million by taking eight buildings off line in the next five to 10 years.
Opponents were worried about spending the additional funding and weren’t convinced the new building was needed — thinking the second option for expansion was sufficient.