The acting commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services and the state Department of Administration commissioner visited the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter Friday to highlight the importance of improving and maintaining aging care and treatment facilities for those with mental illness, disabilities, and chemical dependency.

Minnesota Department of Human Services Acting Commissioner Chuck Johnson.

The governor’s bonding proposal includes $63.4 million for treatment facilities, and DHS Acting Commissioner Chuck Johnson said just over $16 million of it would fund the remodeling of three buildings for the Minnesota Sex Offender Program to be used to get clients ready to leave the facility. “Right now we have 89 beds and they’re full; this proposal would add 50 more beds and some programming space,” he said, and added, “We have 28 men already waiting to go into those 50 beds.”

Department of Administration Commissioner Matt Massman.

The plan calls for nearly $14 million to build assisted living facilities on campus for MSOP clients who can’t live on their own withuot help, and just over $2 million for a new heating and air conditioning system in the dietary services building, where staff prepare 730,000 meals each year.

Johnson said the state hasn’t received any funding to repair or upgrade state facilities since 2014 amd, “Every year that you put off that work not only do the problems get worse, but the cost of fixing them goes up.”

Senator Nick Frentz and Representatives Clark Johnson and Jack Considine also spoke in favor of the asset preservation spending.

Department of Administration Commissioner Matt Massman said the costs of leaving the buildings and facilities to further deteriorate is high and, “We know that it costs about 12 times more to return a building from crisis condition to excellent condition, and about four times more to return it from current to moderate condition.”

Also included in the proposal is nearly $6 million for renovations to create and admissions unit at the Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center, and just under $7 million for repairs there that include roof replacement, repairs to the heating and cooling system, and other work.