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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published January 19 2012

Minot State could need $4 million

MINOT, N.D. – Minot State University may need as much as $4 million to recover from the effects of last summer’s flood, President David Fuller said Thursday.

Fuller told the state Board of Higher Education that the university is experiencing a deficit due to a drop in enrollment and a housing shortage caused by the flood.

The university has had to hire additional recruiters and do more marketing to address the enrollment decline, Fuller said.

Minot State’s fall enrollment was 3,657 students, a 5 percent drop from the previous year. Fuller said enrollment is also down this spring.

The campus purchased temporary housing units for students and employees because the flood destroyed several low-income housing units, he said.

“That’s where a lot of students used to live, and there’s no longer any available housing,” Fuller said.

He told board members he anticipates he will need to come to the board and the Legislature’s Emergency Commission to seek additional funding. In the meantime, Minot State is holding off on hiring and cutting expenses to reduce the deficit as much as possible.

Board members told Fuller to keep them updated and work with local legislators. They cautioned that the Emergency Commission may not have adequate resources.

“Frankly, there’s not enough money in the Emergency Commission,” said Duaine Espegard, board vice president.

Minot State had 117 faculty and staff with homes affected by the flood, said Susan Ness, director of public information.

Roger Kluck, assistant vice president for facilities management, lived in temporary housing on campus until he was able to get into a condo. Some employees still live on campus. No university buildings were damaged by the flood, although there was damage to parking lots due to dikes being constructed around campus. The campus had several flood-related expenses such as pumping water, providing security and cleanup.

“Everything between us and the river was wiped out,” Kluck said.

John Girard, faculty adviser to the state board who teaches at Minot State, said the university has done a good job looking after students and employees affected by the flood.

Officials from the University of North Dakota have advised Minot officials about their experience in the 1997 flood.

“It’s not just this year. It will be a couple years,” Girard said. “It takes a while for people to come back.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590