We Minnesotans have always been proud of our education system. Our preeminence began right here in Winona with the first normal school west of the Mississippi, a teacher training institution that today we call Winona State University. The vision behind the Education Village is to restore Winona to national and international prominence in teacher education, and we know we have the outstanding faculty and staff to do that. What we need is a 21st century facility.
So it’s encouraging that the Education Village is picking up support. We’ve had visits by two committees of the Minnesota Senate, one committee of the Minnesota House, and the Governor himself. For those of you who were not able to attend the Governor’s Open Forum in East Hall, at one point I asked him what his bonding priorities will be this year. Unprompted, he started talking knowledgeably about the Education Village. It was encouraging to see how familiar the Governor was with our project. Community support in Winona has been strong. Our conversations with folks who own properties adjacent to ours have been fruitful, and we think an agreement over the Cathedral School is getting close. We are hopeful that this great idea will break through this year and that new generations of teachers will be prepared in a world-class facility.
We actually have two bonding projects on the MnSCU list this year, not including our HEAPR (Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement) requests. The other project is a new psychology lab in Phelps. While it is better to be on the MnSCU bonding list than not to be on it, the lab is lower on the list than we would like, calling into question the likelihood of whether it will be funded. We will continue to lobby for the lab as well.