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Published January 17, 2014, 07:54 PM

UND gets $9.9 million for new biz school, energy complex

UND is expected to get a total of $9.9 million for a new business school building and an energy research complex, the UND Foundation said today. Of that amount, $6.6 million will be from donations and $3.3 million will be from matching state funds.

By: Tu-Uyen Tran, Grand Forks Herald

UND is expected to get a total of $9.9 million for a new business school building and an energy-research building, the UND Foundation said Friday.

Two-thirds of the money would come from private donors and the rest from a state matching grant approved by the Legislature in 2013.

Both the College of Business and Public Administration and the Petroleum Engineering Department have been growing rapidly and university officials have said more space is needed.

Business school Dean Denny Elbert said plans for the new school are still in the preliminary stage, though he believed the school is three to five years away from the start of construction.

He couldn’t offer a cost estimate but said that new business school buildings in the Upper Midwest, including at North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota-Duluth, cost $25 million to $55 million.

“We’ve got a ways to go on this,” he said.

The College of Engineering and Mines, of which petroleum engineering is a part, has estimated the new Collaborative Energy Center would cost about $15.5 million.

Fundraising tool

Elbert and other officials with the university and foundation praised the Education Challenge Fund that has bolstered fundraising efforts.

It’s a “great opportunity” to show the strength of the collaboration between the public and private sector, Elbert said.

The fund matches $1 from state coffers for every $2 raised by university foundations. Gov. Jack Dalrymple championed the proposal and the Legislature allocated $29 million to it.

UND has a $10 million limit and UND Foundation CEO DeAnna Carlson Zink said in a news release that her organization aims to take full advantage of that. “I’m confident that we will have no problem securing the full $20 million in private donations necessary to obtain our $10 million share of the state matching fund.”

Besides the business school and energy center, the $9.9 million would also go to various endowment funds for scholarships and faculty needs, the foundation said.

North Dakota State University has the same $10 million limit as UND. Other institutions in the state university system have a $1 million limit.

Growing enrollment

Elbert said he and others at the university have been working on a new building for nearly a decade.

Gamble Hall, the school’s home, was built in 1968 to accommodate 1,100 students. There are nearly twice that many students now, including graduate students. The building was also built at a time when technology and collaborative learning were not as big a part of a business education as it is now.

College officials have said they want a new facility that offers more of both.

The university has a prominent location in mind, Elbert said, but it’s not his place to say.

More details are available about the Collaborative Energy Center, which is farther along. The university asked the State Board of Higher Education in November for permission to begin work on the 30,000-square-foot building attached to several existing buildings belonging to the engineering school in the southeast part of campus.

It reported then that enrollment within the Petroleum Engineering Department had grown from seven to 200. They’ve been sharing lab space with other engineering departments, and the new building would give them their own space along with other classrooms.

The Herald contacted engineering Dean Hesham El Rewini late Friday after receiving notice of the $9.9 million but he did not reply by press time.