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Mines Needs Money for Classrooms, Labs, and Ladies’ Rooms

Next week the South Dakota Board of Regents will discuss Dr. Joseph A. Hartman's review of the geology and geological engineering program at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. The UND geology professor visited campus last April. His findings support the argument I find myself making all too often about South Dakota's education funding: money by itself does not guarantee better education, but sometimes you have to spend more money to meet basic needs.

Dr. Hartmann identified a number facilities upgrades that will require spending in the coming years:

  • GGE classroom and teaching facilities cannot support the 5% annual increases in undergraduate enrollment increases mandated by the Mines 2020 Strategic Vision and Plan.
  • GGE laboratory sections require "hands-on" training and there is little room for either larger lab sections or increased numbers of lab sections.
  • Mineral Industries (Ml) building requires renovation because of circuitry, HVAC, and asbestos.
  • New space for GGE is a top priority in Mines 2020 Capital Campaign fund-raising [Dr. Joseph H. Hartman, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Geology and Geological Engineering program review, 2014.08.24, p. 17].

If we want more scientists and engineers, the students we train to that end will need more classrooms and laboratories to develop the skills we crave.

Dr. Hartman also identified some equality issues that require some fiscal will:

One that resonated was access to female bathrooms on all floors in the GGE building. Because of course scheduling conflicts (back to back, as a simple example), women students are not able to visit a bathroom conveniently and thus be late for class. They considered this a Title IX concern.

Subsequent to my visit I learned that “The lack of women's bathrooms on the first and third floor of the building is well known to all women faculty, staff, and students who use the building and the latter two groups have made periodic requests to facilities and the administration to remedy it. The bathrooms were renovated several years ago but, inexplicably, the male restroom on the second floor was made co-ed, but no attempt to provide female restrooms on the other floors was made” (Maribeth Price, August 2014). Apparently, this is a failure of the School to address a long-standing problem despite faculty and student concerns and repeated requests [Hartman, 2014.08.28, p. 9].

Dr. Hartman also notices a lack of electronic journals and a lack of funding for trips to academic conferences.

Classrooms, laboratories, and bathrooms don't just bubble up from the ground like the lava our Hardrockers study. Professional geologists don't come from walking around the courtyard having Socratic dialogues. Fulfilling its mission requires spending more money. We'll find out this session whether our Legislature is willing to put its money where its mouth is, or whether it will continue to expect professors and students to find their own resources.


  1. Tim 2014.11.28

    Maybe if Mines puts in a welding training shop the legislature will send them enough money for an extra porta potty outside the back door for the girls.

  2. mhs 2014.11.28

    Christmas 1978 and all my buddies came home for break with "Sex Kills: Go to Tech and Live Forever" bumper stickers on their cars. Guess it's a bit more co-ed than it used to be.

  3. grudznick 2014.11.28

    Did you live in Connolley, Mr. mhs? Did you keep your beanie?

  4. JeniW 2014.11.28

    Just a couple of days ago, read an article that because not as much revenue has come in through taxes, and there is less money coming from the unclaimed money, education is most likely going to be no more than 1.5% increase per student in the k-12 system. I would not be very optimistic about the School of Mines receiving much from the state.

    If Gov. Daugaard really wants to attract trained people to the state, perhaps it could do what is done for those who earn their Medical Doctor degree, that is "forgive" part of all of the student loans of graduates if they practice in an underserved area for 2+ years. This would mean instead of financing schools, use financing to help pay off loan of those who qualify.

  5. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.11.28

    Items like bathrooms are often a sign of disdain. I assume there is a bathroom for the men on every floor. The women? Oh, the "girls" can just run up or down a floor. They're not a priority.

    It's demeaning and an indicator of the lack of value placed on women. It's in the same league as too few bathrooms in a theater, hence the long line of women snaking down the hall.

    Yes, these things matter.

  6. grudznick 2014.11.28

    There should be women's bathrooms for every 1 men's bathroom. That should be a law.

  7. grudznick 2014.11.28

    I got edited. That was "3 women's bathrooms for every 1 men's bathroom".

  8. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.11.28

    Exactly Grudz. I have a friend who is an architect designing commercial buildings. The developers tell her what they want. She takes the number of women's bathrooms and triples it to get it right.

  9. mhs 2014.11.29

    No Grud, I went to THE University, not the trade school.

  10. Tim 2014.11.29

    Hummm, a lot of us went to trade schools not "The University", my education has been pretty good to me, would have been better if I had not moved to SD but that's a long complicated story.

  11. tara volesky 2014.11.29

    Trade schools are great. Unfortunately graduates have to leave SD for high paying jobs.

  12. Tim 2014.11.29

    Third try:
    I took a 4 dollar an hour cut when I came here, took me 8 years to make that 4 dollars back. If I had known then what I found out shortly after I got here, no way would I have come here.

  13. Tim 2014.11.29

    By the time I figured out I had made a huge career mistake, it was to late and my poor wages and starting a family stuck me here.

  14. Moses 2014.11.29

    Our motto in this state we came to die not to buy.

  15. Moses 2014.11.29

    Get your ed here then go to Maryland and make more money teaching there. REP. Legisalature not sharp enough to figure out how to fund it.

  16. tara volesky 2014.11.29

    SD is 39th in the nation per student expenditures. SD is also ranked 24th for administration salaries. Maybe the local school board that disburse the money should get their priorities straight. Teachers should be on the same level as administrators. I attended some school board meetings in Mitchell and the board didn't think twice about giving our superintendent and administrators a raise. They said they have to keep up with the market. Nothing was said about teachers. I fault the local school boards. They rule the purse strings.

  17. Tim 2014.11.29

    Tara, I agree, nobody is more overpaid than the super of RCAS, the legislature could fix that if they had the stones to do it. It's to easy for the legislature and Daugaard to pass the buck to locals now, avoiding taking any responsibility for the problem themselves.

  18. grudznick 2014.11.29

    Ms. Volesky, you could not be more right. Those fatcat administrators suck up all the money we want to go to good teachers.

  19. bearcreekbat 2014.11.29

    Hummm, I wonder what it would do to our schools to make those folks in administration also the lowest paid in the nation like our teachers. Do you suppose it would attract the most qualified administrators and result in improving our schools?

  20. tara volesky 2014.11.29

    Taxpayers are maxed out paying high property taxes. The people have spoken. The money is there for the teachers, so maybe start with questioning superintendents and school boards.

  21. tara volesky 2014.11.29

    bearcreekbat, administrators are not the lowest paid in the nation. They are 24th. Teachers are the lowest paid at 51st.

  22. Tim 2014.11.29

    Larry, they don't care about such things, move along nothing to see here.

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