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NDSU aquatic center survives challenge by ed board

FARGO -- The State Board of Higher Education on Thursday shot down a motion to rescind approval of North Dakota State University increasing student fees to start paying for an $11 million aquatic center not yet approved by state lawmakers.

The board considered rescinding its May 9 approval for NDSU to begin collecting a new student fee for the aquatic center addition to the Wallman Wellness Center, pending legislative approval in 2015.

Board President Duaine Espegard said he didn't have a problem with the concept, but he was concerned with setting a precedent of collecting money before the facility would open.

NDSU Student Body President Robert Lauf said it was a "hypocritical" action after about 18 percent of the student body voted on the plan in April, with 60 percent of voters backing the project.

Espegard's motion to rescind the prior approval failed 5-3. Espegard, Kathleen Neset and Grant Shaft voted in favor.