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At the U, some buildings are going away

  • Article by: JENNA ROSS
  • Star Tribune
  • May 12, 2011 - 7:48 PM

The University of Minnesota plans to demolish or mothball 10 buildings totaling 220,000 square feet in the coming year. Officials say tearing down the costly, obsolete halls and houses will save $974,000 in annual operating costs.

WHICH ONES?

Among the buildings slated for removal:

• Wesbrook Hall, built in 1896 and first recommended for removal in 1910, a U report says. It will cost $470,150 to remove.

• Norris Hall, built in 1914 to house women's athletics. For years, it has been used to store furniture and materials displaced by renovations elsewhere on campus. It will cost $1.6 million to remove.

• Four houses -- two in Minneapolis and two in St. Paul -- that have "outlived their usefulness," according to a U report. Three of the four sites will be turned into open space.

WHY?

This is the second phase of a long-term plan to better use space on the Twin Cities campus. A Board of Regents committee reviewed the plan Thursday.

In considering a building's future, the U weighs its code deficiencies, potential renovation costs and historic value.

WHAT ABOUT EDDY?

"No one's ever going to tear Eddy Hall down," said Brian Swanson, a U budget officer, of the oldest building on campus.

But the U does plan to decommission Eddy. "The university will mothball this building," a report says, "until an appropriate programmatic use can be found and the necessary funds acquired to completely rehabilitate the historic structure."

WHAT'S NEXT?

Meanwhile, the U hopes to add and renovate. Regents will review a capital improvement budget Friday that includes, among other things, a $77 million physics and nanotechnology building, which would feature flexible labs and a "clean room" for nanotechnology. That building depends on $51.3 million from the state. It would add $2.1 million to the U's annual operating costs, according to an April report.

Jenna Ross • 612-673-7168

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