On March 31, the Montana Senate passed Senate Bill 416 which funds the renovation of Romney Gym. The bill was then transmitted to the House where it must be passed if it will continue onto the Governor’s desk.
House Bill 5 is the other bill currently being considered by the Montana Legislature which could fund the Romney renovation. HB 5 contains provisions for the full $28 million necessary for the Romney renovations. Under SB 416 MSU would receive a $20 million appropriation, $8 million short of the required amount.
However, the bill does contain a second revenue “trigger” appropriation of $8 million for the renovations, which means that if the total state revenue reaches $2.2 billion for the 2015 fiscal year by Aug 1, the state will grant MSU the remaining $8 million. If the $2.2 billion trigger is not reached, however, the university will need to raise the remaining funds itself.
As efforts to secure the funding necessary for the renovation of Romney Hall continue, ASMSU has chosen to support SB 416 as well as continue support for HB 5. ASMSU Lobbyist Garrett Lankford explained that ASMSU has several reasons for supporting both bills, saying that any bill that contains funding for MSU projects deserves support. Additionally, Clayton Christian, the commissioner of higher education, has encouraged ASMSU to support the bill so that the commissioner’s office can focus elsewhere.
Lankford explained that there is a need across the university system for both projects and that MSU specifically needs more space to meet tutoring and classroom needs, which would be provided by the renovation of Romney Hall, and that funding requirements are met by both bills.