BISMARCK - The State Board of Higher Education approved more than $136 million in capital project funding requests for North Dakota State University on Wednesday.

These requests will go to the Office of Management and Budget for the governor’s recommendation and then to the state Legislature, which convenes in January.

The board also approved a 3 percent increase in NDSU President Dean Bresciani’s salary, a smaller increase than the interim chancellor of the North Dakota University System, Larry Skogen, originally proposed.

The $136.65 million for NDSU projects includes $45.9 million for construction on Dunbar Hall II and almost $60 million for two projects to maintain accreditation: $32.7 million for an addition at Sudro Hall, a health sciences facility, and $27.2 million for phase one of an expansion of engineering buildings. The latter was not initially recommended by Skogen but was added in an amendment at the most recent budget and finance committee meeting.

Board member Don Morton said the accreditation projects were logical requests considering the fields they would benefit.

Health and engineering industries are under stress regionally and nationally, he said. He called the projects “very strategic from a workforce perspective.”

President salaries

Wednesday’s vote approved 3 percent salary increases in 2015 for seven presidents in the University System, including Bresciani and President Robert Kelley at the University of North Dakota.

A 5 percent increase was approved for President Raymond Nadolny of Williston State College. In its budget and finance committee meeting, the board cited Williston’s high cost of living as the reason for that difference.

Skogen first proposed a 4 percent increase for Bresciani, a move that aimed to keep the president’s earnings in the 80 to 120 percent range of other presidents’ salaries at colleges with College and University Professional Association certifications of “very high research activity.” NDSU has this certification; UND does not.

A 4 percent increase would have brought Bresciani’s salary to $347,584 for 2015; the 3 percent increase brings it to $344,241. The board approved the latter.

Kelley will receive a 2015 salary of $360,773 after his 3 percent increase.

NDSCS expansion

The board also approved a request of $10 million for phase one of North Dakota State College of Science’s expansion into Fargo, with the implication that more resources would be allocated at a future date.

Phase one would secure the land and involve some land preparation, Skogen said.

The campus in Fargo would be targeted toward the 25 to 49 age group, or working adults who go back to school to receive training in new occupations, said NDSCS President John Richman.

Morton noted that 50 percent of students at the Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Moorhead are from North Dakota

“Are we OK with North Dakota students going across the river? Or do we need to build a two-year school in Fargo? That’s a discussion we’ve gotta have,” he said.

Richman said the Fargo campus would be more of an addition to the Moorhead campus than a competitor because it would offer different training programs. He also noted problems with the current situation.

“When (students) cross the river, they give up their affordability,” he said. “We also believe that when they go across the river, their workforce goes east and does not come west,” implying that a Fargo campus could keep more potential workers in the state.

Seventy percent of NDSCS graduates stay in North Dakota, he said.

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