A letter from Dean Elde and Director Biesboer

May 11, 2012

Earlier today Governor Mark Dayton signed a capital bonding bill proposed by the Legislature that includes $4.1 million for a new campus center at Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories.
The funding is part of $64 million allocated for the University of Minnesota, which also includes $50 million for the Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR) and $10 million toward a combined heat and power plant.  
It has taken several years and the effort of hundreds of faculty, staff, students and alumni to accomplish this. You have our heartfelt thanks. We would especially like to thank the students who made personal visits to their legislators, key alumni who contributed financial support and influence, as well as the governor and key legislators who helped make this happen.
We have had extraordinary feedback about the Itasca experience from alumni and students for many years. We hope the new facility, plus the ability to operate year-round, will help us provide more learning opportunities at Itasca, particularly for our upper division students.
The new campus center, which replaces three obsolete buildings, will provide 12,000 square feet of technology-enabled laboratories, classrooms and offices, a multipurpose room that accommodates 150 people, a library/computer room, and three administrative offices.
The center will be constructed for year-round operation, provide for a 20% increase in capacity during peak season, and ultimately meet all of its energy needs. Architectural plans will be completed in November 2012 and construction bids will be solicited in January 2013. Construction begins in April 2013 with completion expected in December 2013.
CBS is responsible for $2 million of the $6 million projected construction budget. While a number of donors have already demonstrated support, the effort to raise funds continues.
Again, thank you to everyone who supported this effort. We couldn’t have done it without you.
Bob Elde, Dean

J.B. Johnston Land Grant Professor of Neuroscience

David Biesboer, Director of Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories

Professor, Department of Plant Biology