MSU to receive $1 million of grant money

Minot State University is set to receive $1 million in grant funding to enhance campus security measures from the Board of University and School Lands.

MSU President David Fuller said Thursday that the grant must first be approved by both the State Board of Higher Education and the budget section committee of the Legislature before any projects can go forward. Fuller hopes to get the issue on the agenda for the State Board of Higher Education meeting in January or February. The budget section committee will likely meet mid-spring, said Fuller.

If approved, the $1 million grant would be used to pay for a “blue light” system on campus. The 25 blue lights would be distributed strategically throughout the campus near walking areas and each will have a phone that could be used to contact campus security. Fuller said the university employs a security staff of six employees, headed up by a director of campus security. Campus security is also available to escort students between campus buildings when they make the request.

MSU had asked for $1.8 million from the land board but was approved for roughly $1 million. Fuller said the blue light system was the top priority for campus safety but, as money becomes available, the university also plans to enhance lighting on campus and to install high definition video cameras in campus parking lots.

Fuller said campus safety and security is particularly important now because of increased crime in western North Dakota and the concerns of parents and students.

If both the State Board of Higher Education and the budget section give approval for the grant, Fuller said the blue light system should be ready to go by the fall 2014 semester.

The Board of University and School Lands awarded nearly $10 million to K-12 schools and higher education institutions throughout the state’s oil and gas counties. The land board awarded about $5.6 million in grants to 24 K-12 schools and $4 million to higher education institutions impacted by rapid growth in western North Dakota.

“These grants are an important part of a larger state commitment to help meet the many challenges that are created by rapid growth in the state’s oil and gas region,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple, chairman of the five-member state land board, in a press release.”With the Energy Impact Grant Fund we can tackle a wide range of challenges. At the same time, we recognize that the challenges from rapid growth are very dynamic and we must always be prepared to adapt our response to meet the region’s needs.”

Other members of the land board are Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and state Treasurer Kelly Schmidt.