City of Austin officials now starting planning process; groundbreaking possibly late this year
AUSTIN, Minn. – Tuesday, May 15 – Local leaders today thanked their local legislators Sen. Dan Sparks and Rep. Jeanne Poppe , among other state legislators, for their successful efforts in the Legislature’s recent session to secure bonding funds to support The Hormel Institute’s second major expansion.
Following the Legislature’s approval last week of a bonding bill – which Gov. Mark Dayton signed on Friday –officials with the City of Austin now have the planning process underway for the Austin Port Authority and expansion of The Hormel Institute. Austin Port Authority, the city’s economic-development entity, requested the $13.5 million in state bonding funds and got the full amount included in the final bonding and will build, own and manage The Hormel Institute’s next expansion.
Several months of planning are ahead for the project, with the groundbreaking on the east side of The Hormel Institute happening either late this year or in early 2013, said Jim Hurm, Executive Director of Austin Port Authority. Construction will begin in 2013.
Sparks and Poppe introduced bills in the Senate and House for Austin Port Authority’s bonding request. The $13.5 million amount will fund roughly half of the expansion’s total cost and signifies the first time the state has partnered with The Hormel Institute on a building project.
“Sen. Sparks and Rep. Poppe and numerous other legislators provided strong leadership and dedicated significant work toward gaining extensive, bipartisan support for The Hormel Institute’s next expansion,” said Dr. Zigang Dong, Executive Director of The Hormel Institute. “We, along with the rest of the Austin community, are very thankful for their efforts because cancer research affects everyone and this project will grow our world-renowned work, greatly benefitting our region and state.”
Gov. Dayton also was thanked for his showing of strong support for The Hormel Institute expansion. The governor included the Institute as one of three projects highlighted during his media conference in January to unveil his proposed bonding bill. He invited Dr. Zigang Dong and Bonnie Rietz, Vice Chair of The Hormel Foundation, to stand with him at the event.
Local leaders also expressed their deep gratitude for the significant support by Senate Majority Leader David Senjem, of Rochester, who also served as chair for the Senate Capital Investment Committee and voiced support for the project, including arranging a visit with the committee in December to The Hormel Institute.
Officials also extended thanks to Rep. Larry Howes, chair of the House Capital Investment Committee, along with Rep. Rich Murray, of Albert Lea, and Sen. Carla Nelson, of Rochester. Howes also brought the House committee to Austin in October.
Plans for the expansion include adding 15 state-of-the-art laboratories on the Institute’s east side and better space for its growing International Center of Research Technology. About 120 high-quality jobs will be created over five years with the expansion that also will strengthen The Hormel Institute’s “BioScience Triangle” partnerships with the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Mayo Clinic-Rochester.
In 2008, the Institute celebrated an expansion and renovation project – fully paid for privately – that tripled its size and added space for doubling the number of jobs of research faculty and staff. Additional space now is needed at the Institute because those labs created by the 2006-2008 project are full.
The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota-Mayo Clinic is a world-renowned cancer research center and leader in cancer preventative research. The BioScience Triangle growing the collaborative partnership between the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Mayo Clinic-Rochester and The Hormel Institute-Austin is continuing to expand.