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April 10, 2008
College constructs plans to respond to community requests for more, flexible options

New fine arts building

Anoka-Ramsey Community College received approval for its bonding request for construction of a new fine arts building on its Coon Rapids Campus to adjust to increased enrollments in its fine art and music programs. The college plans to go out for bid on the project by fall 2008.

Anoka-Ramsey Community College received a resounding "YES" from Minnesota state legislators and Governor Pawlenty, April 7, to its request for $5.5 million to fund four large facilities projects at the college campuses in Coon Rapids and Cambridge, Minn. The college's requests were part of a larger bonding bill request on behalf of all Minnesota State Colleges and Universities - some of which were not approved by legislators or were vetoed by the Governor.

"We are particularly pleased that all four requests made it in the final bill, which will allow us to continue to grow, and bring four-year degree offerings, as well as our fine arts, allied health and bioscience programs," says Dr. Patrick M. Johns, President of Anoka-Ramsey Community College. "Our community members are coming to us and requesting that we provide access to bachelor-level programs on campus, more flexible scheduling and more offerings that assist with changing careers. These bonding projects are key to fulfilling those requests."

The funded bonding projects for Anoka-Ramsey Community College include:

  • $300,000. Design planning for new facility at the Coon Rapids Campus to house bioscience programs, allied health programs and bachelor-level programs from universities. An additional $15 million for construction of the facility will be requested in the 2010 bonding process.
  • $3,800,000. Construction of an additional fine arts building at the Coon Rapids Campus to address growing art and music programs. An additional $5 million to renovate the current fine arts building will be requested in the 2010 bonding process.
  • $525,000. Renovate a classroom into a science lab at the Cambridge Campus. Additional funds to expand the Cambridge Campus will be requested in the 2010 bonding process.
  • $885,822. Replace air-handling units on Coon Rapids Campus.

Growth By Demand
As part of its mission, Anoka-Ramsey is committed to responding to the educational needs of the changing communities it serves. Key college constituents regularly confer with college leaders through a variety of college advisory groups and several President's strategic planning breakfasts. In addition, the Anoka County Commissioners and the City of Coon Rapids Council Members made a strong case to bring additional bachelor-level programming to Anoka County when both entities passed resolutions in support of Anoka-Ramsey's expansion plans.

The need for increased access to higher education is more than just the opinion of those living in Anoka-Ramsey's services areas of the north suburban metro area and East Central Minnesota. A 2004 study by Noel-Levitz revealed that populations in Anoka and Isanti Counties have lower than the state average number of individuals with two-year and four-year college degrees as well as a lower per capita income level than the state average. Also, these and the surrounding counties are projecting strong population growths in the next 20 years.

"We are the right place to come for a college education, especially if you want to stay close to home in East Central Minnesota or in the northern Twin Cities suburbs," says Johns. "If you want a bachelor's degree, we want to know about you and bring the program to one of our campuses. If you want to complete your generals, then transfer, we are the lowest-cost, high-quality choice. If you are making a career change and need a quick certificate program, we have many options for you."

"Our goal is to assist anyone who wants to advance their education." For more information about Anoka-Ramsey Community College projects or programs, call 763-433-1100 or visit www.AnokaRamsey.edu.

MORE ABOUT THE BONDING BILL
The Anoka-Ramsey Community College projects, funded by the bonding bill, are part of the statewide bonding bill that was approved by Minnesota legislators and Governor Pawlenty. This bill includes dozens of capital construction projects around the state including several for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU).