News Release
Contacts: Robert T. Tad Perry, Executive Director
Carol Stonefield, Director of Information

T: 605.773.3455
F: 605.773.5320


For Immediate Release 22 March 2001

Regents Review 2001 Legislation

National Underground Laboratory, New Mission for NSU, Ten-year Capital Improvements Plan
Gained Approval


BROOKINGS—Today at its regular business meeting on the campus of the South Dakota State University the Board of Regents reviewed the appropriations and legislation enacted by the 2001 Legislature. "The Regents view the actions of the Legislature and the Governor as supportive of the course we have taken over the past few years," said Regents President Harvey C. Jewett, of Aberdeen. "We received funding for new programs and approval of our capital improvements plan. We are especially grateful for the action taken to authorize the Governor to accept the Homestake Mine so that South Dakota School of Mines and Technology can proceed with the National Science Foundation Underground Laboratory. This is an enormous step for the university, indeed for all of South Dakota."

One new program will be funded by a special appropriation to the current fiscal year budget. The Center for E-Learning at Northern State University will assist faculty to integrate technology into course delivery throughout the curriculum. In addition, the center will deliver higher level high school courses to small and isolated school districts that are unable to offer such courses now. The center will change the way that student teachers are taught by instructing them to be e-mentors to teach by means of and facilitate distance delivery.

The ten-year capital plan was proposed to the Legislature by the Regents, who had adopted the plan late in 2000. "The Regents will now be able to implement our first comprehensive long-term system plan to update the universities’ physical plant," said Regents President Harvey C. Jewett, Aberdeen. "To be responsible stewards of the students’ resources, we think this is a careful approach to preserving and enhancing the investment in campus infrastructure."

All renovation or new construction will be financed from student tuition and federal or private revenues. "No state tax revenues were sought for these buildings," said Regents Executive Director Robert T. Tad Perry. "For many years the policy of this state has been to fund university academic buildings with money from tuition paid by the students. A percentage of tuition is placed in the Higher Education Facilities Fund to be used for regular maintenance and repair. That money is also used to finance major renovations or alterations to academic buildings. Legislative approval is necessary to spend that money, however."

The appropriation to the Board of Regents includes an increase to the base budget of $6,235,130 in general funds. Items funded by the appropriation include:

  • a fire predictor specialist at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
  • presentation by the Cooperative Extension Service on changing demographics in South Dakota
  • increased Internet services for some universities to participate in Internet 2.

On the last day of the 2001 the Legislature suspended its rules to introduce and pass a bill authorizing the Governor to accept transfer of the Homestake Mine in Lead. "This act of the Legislature sends a very important signal to the National Science Foundation and to Congress that South Dakota is ready to support the national underground laboratory," said SDSMT President Richard Gowen. "The impact of the laboratory will be felt throughout South Dakota in public higher education and in the economic development opportunities presented by such a facility."

Perry added that the act shows vision. "The Governor and the Legislature have made a long-term investment in South Dakota."

Finally, on the last day of the legislative session the Legislature failed to override the Governor’s veto of the bill to establish the Regents Scholars Scholarship. "When the Legislature adjourned following the main run of the session, the Legislature had sent to the Governor a bill that included providing scholarships to students who attend in-state private institutions and no funding. The Governor vetoed that bill, as he said he would. We are, of course, very disappointed that the scholarship was not created. Keeping South Dakota’s young people in the state to pursue their education is so important to the future of this state’s workforce. We applaud Governor Janklow for his leadership in bringing this proposal. We regret the frustration that many South Dakota students and their families must be feeling right now," said Jewett.

Jewett noted that the Governor and legislators have been supportive of Regents’ programs and actions in recent years. "For several years the Legislature and the Governor have told us Regents to operate more efficiently, be more resourceful, and serve the people of this State. We have tried to do that. So we think their actions this year signal that they approve of the directions we have taken," said Jewett.

For more information, contact Dr. Robert T. Tad Perry or Monte Kramer, Director of Finance and Administration, (605) 773-3455.


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