Rochester, Minn.— Governor Dayton recommended that Rochester Community and Technical College receive 22.835 million dollars in bonding funds to demolish and rebuild Plaza Memorial Hall and renovate and expand other classroom and office spaces on campus.
On Tuesday, Commissioner of Higher Education Larry Pogemiller toured RCTC to support the recommendation.
The building has been deemed unsavable. The current building's hallways are lined with large buckets that catch water leaking from the ceiling. The humidity causes mold in teacher offices. The heaters are so old, the school is unable to buy parts to repair them. There is an issue of mice crawling into the heater, dying, and causing foul odors. Classrooms are outdated and professors' offices are cramped.
Math faculty member David Atwood says, "It just isn't a good learning environment."
The new building will feature new classrooms, offices, a courtyard, a central campus chiller plant, and communal student areas. It will be less crowded, up to health and safety codes, and more energy-efficient, modern, and functional.
38,000 square feet will be demolished, 20,000 square feet will be replaced, and 11,000 square feet will be rennovated. The remodels will reduce annual operating and utility expenses by an estimated $143,000, and improve the utilization of space from 47% to 74%.
The college is currently number 3 on the state legislature's priority list. The design plans have been purchased and made, and RCTC is ready to begin the project as soon as legislature approves the governor's recommendation. President Mary Davenport hopes they can begin by June.
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