ST. CLOUD -- With Governor Mark Dayton's John Hancock on the Legislature's bonding bill, St. Cloud State University can start renovating Eastman Hall.

Lawmakers approved just over $18,500,000 in bond funding to go toward renovating the facility. St. Cloud State Interim President Ashish Vaidya says when the project is finished it will give the School of Health and Human Services a new home.

"What that does for the students is it brings together experiential learning opportunities, some interdisciplinary programs, so really the educational experience in particular for our students in health and health sciences are going to be elevated to a whole new level."

Other than health and human services, Eastman Hall will incorporate the Counseling and Psychological Services Center as well as UCHOOSE in the building. UCHOOSE is a program that helps students who are struggling with binge and underage drinking.

Vaidya says SCSU is excited to start the renovation which should be completed by next fall.

"It takes typically about 12-15 months for completion. Our hope then is that barring any unforeseen circumstances, sometime in the late fall of next year we should have this [Eastman Hall] completed. We're keeping our fingers crossed and we'll have some more details in the weeks ahead."

Eastman Hall was built in 1929 and was originally used as a gym and training facility for SCSU athletes. It has been vacant since 2011.