MSU President's Newspaper Column

May 13, 2023 

Grateful for generous support from the North Dakota legislature

We are extremely grateful for the generous and thoughtful support Mayville State University received through the work of the 68th Legislative Assembly. The biennial session was adjourned sine die in the early morning hours of Sunday, April 30. Governor Burgum has now signed HB 1003, which includes funding for the North Dakota University System and Mayville State’s Old Main renovation project.

The bill signed by the governor authorizes the Mayville State University Old Main renovation project to be funded in two phases. The sum of $17,330,087, or so much of the sum as may be necessary, was awarded for Phase 1 of the project during the biennium beginning July 1, 2023 and ending June 30, 2025, and continuing into the biennium beginning July 1, 2025 and ending June 30, 2027. The legislature authorized the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education to borrow the sum of $34,924,814, or so much of the sum as may be necessary, from the Bank of North Dakota for completion of Phase 2 of the project. The State Board of Higher Education will then seek funding from the 69th Legislative Assembly to repay the loan that was authorized.

The renovation of Old Main was a top priority of the State Board of Higher Education going into the legislative session. The 55,000 sq. ft. building houses 83% instructional and academic space on four floors. It was constructed in two phases, in 1890 and 1905. Renovation of the building is an important life safety priority.

The renovation project is particularly important for the life safety of our students, faculty and staff. The interior stairway access to the building will be reconfigured to address fire safety concerns. Other proposed work includes replacing fire alarms and adding an emergency notification system and a new or enhanced automatic fire suppression system. Electrical power and lighting systems will be gutted and replaced, as will HVAC and plumbing systems. ADA compliance will be addressed as well. The renovation will address the most significant deferred maintenance on the Mayville State campus.

New technology, data, communication systems, and infrastructure will be installed to bring the university up to speed as the technological advances evolve in a changing world.

Mayville State University is an important partner for workforce development in the state of North Dakota. We are committed to growing the impact we can have for North Dakota, and the improved instructional space will be a major factor in helping us to make that happen.

In other legislative funding activity, employee compensation increases of 6% during the first year of the biennium and 4% the second year were approved, as recommended by Governor Burgum, to attract and retain state team members in an increasingly competitive job market and at a time of high inflation. The legislature also approved $82 million in equity funding to bring targeted agency salaries, including higher education, closer in line with the overall market.

In the interest of students and their families, tuition will be frozen to the rate of the Spring Semester of 2023 for North Dakota students during the 2023-24 and 2024-25 academic years.

The State Board of Higher Education has been authorized to make $1.1 million in challenge grant funding available to Mayville State University in the next biennium. This represents a $400,000 increase from the $700,000 awarded in the current biennium. The challenge grant allows Mayville State University to receive one dollar for every two dollars contributed in academic scholarship funding from private sources. The challenge grant has been life-changing in its impact at Mayville State University.  

The support of all North Dakota Legislators, the State Board of Higher Education, and Governor Burgum is sincerely appreciated, and we are thankful for the trust they have placed in Mayville State University as we work to make a difference for students as individuals and the state of North Dakota.

I am grateful beyond words to the legislators from across the state who advocated on Mayville State’s behalf throughout this session. It is refreshing to know that many understand the value of what a small campus can do to propel young leaders into their chosen profession, as well as how important the Mayville State brand of “personal service” is to our society now and in the future.

I would be remiss in not specifically mentioning our local District 20 legislators, Jared Hagert, Randy Lemm, and Mike Beltz. These hard-working public servants have invested a great deal of time and effort into Mayville State University. I am thankful to the nth degree and Comet Proud for their support that not only benefits the local communities, but also the region and state. They’ve been supportive throughout this journey. If a person were to add up the number of times we’ve communicated about our budget needs, I think we’d be astonished at the result.

The future is bright at Mayville State University. Our commitment to serving the state of North Dakota by educating highly qualified and effective professionals who can join the workforce and continue the legacy of success for our great state is the priority, a goal which is of utmost importance.