Winona State University would be in line to receive $5.9 million in funding for its Education Village project, under a state construction bill compromise announced Wednesday at the state Legislature.
The funding would cover the initial phase of the estimated $22 million-plus project to build a modern teacher training facility where educators of all levels would design the future of teacher education. The goal is to create an open environment where students, faculty and educators in Winona and school districts across the region can come together to learn and rewrite the rules of how teachers teach.
The construction bill also calls for Southeast Technical College to receive full funding for $1.7 million for classroom renovations at its Winona and Red Wing campuses, and for $5.35 million for Chatfield’s Center for the Arts.
WSU first pitched the project to the Legislature in 2013 and while there was early interest, including from Gov. Mark Dayton, the proposal eventually faltered. Last fall, WSU spent $339,000 to purchase three buildings at Sanborn and Center streets formerly owned by the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart as part of efforts to obtain the required land for the project.
There was renewed interest this year, beginning with Dayton’s support when he included it in the list of priority projects he released in January.
At one point this session there was movement on a proposal in the House to fully fund the project, but it never received enough support. While he was disappointed that the Education Village likely won’t get full funding this year, WSU president Scott Olson said he was pleased with how fast things moved for the project.
“We had really hoped for full funding of $22 million,” Olson said. “But this was an idea that is only 18 months old. Thanks to the help of Gene Pelowski (D — Winona), Jeremy Miller (R — Winona) and Greg Davids (R — Preston), we are thrilled to be in the bonding bill.”
“We had really hoped for full funding of $22 million. But this was an idea that is only 18 months old. Thanks to the help of (local legislators), we are thrilled to be in the bonding bill.” WSU president Scott Olson