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Hockey money could aid elsewhere

Published (3/2/2012)
By Bob Geiger
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Some members of a House committee objected to a plan to use leftover bond money from a hockey center renovation to fund new capital projects at St. Cloud State University.

Sponsored by Rep. King Banaian (R-St. Cloud), HF1960 would authorize

$4.8 million in 2008 state bond appropriations intended for the National Hockey Center on the campus to be instead spent on asset preservation and repair projects.

The House Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee approved the bill Feb. 23 and forwarded it to the House Capital Investment Committee. A Senate companion, SF1574, sponsored by Sen. John Pederson (R-St. Cloud), awaits action by the Senate Capital Investment Committee.

Some members questioned the proposed financing structure.

“With MnDOT, if a project comes in under budget they don’t get to build another road,” said Rep. Terry Morrow (DFL-St. Peter).

Rep. Jeanne Poppe (DFL-Austin) questioned whether using bonds originally granted for the hockey center for unrelated projects opens the door for similar financial approaches by other colleges or universities.

“It is a change in how we would use these funds,” said Steve Ludwig, St. Cloud State vice president for administrative affairs.

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