Morrill Hall renovation approved

Nathan Whalen

The University Board of Regents approved a $1 million amendment to the capital budget Thursday morning to pay for a Morrill Hall renovation.
University officials have already requested $134 million from the Legislature, but Gov. Jesse Ventura recommended funding only $54 million of it. Ventura’s recommendation will be taken into consideration by legislators, who will make a final decision in April.
The renovation is a sudden change to the capital budget. The completion of the Gateway alumni center allowed space to open up in Morrill Hall.
“We were unsure that we could do this during this fiscal year,” said Eric Kruse, vice president for University Services.
However, departments currently located in Morrill Hall will not be moved out during the renovation period; instead, they will be shuffled throughout the building as work is done in each section.
Space vacated by the regents and the Office of the General Counsel, both of which have been moved to the Gateway alumni center, will be refurbished and used as conference rooms.
To expand meeting space, the fifth floor will be redesigned and turned into additional meeting rooms. However, that floor isn’t handicap accessible yet.
The building’s elevator would need to be extended to the fifth floor to make it handicap accessible, Kruse said. The elevator shaft would have to be extended up to the fifth floor and a penthouse would then be built to house the elevator’s machinery.
However, that project is currently too expensive for the resources allocated to the renovation.

Nathan Whalen covers facilities and construction. He welcomes comments at [email protected] He can be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3236.