Regents to discuss new U buildings

Naomi Scott

Although the Board of Regents usually meets in committees to discuss University policies, one item on the June meeting agenda was important enough to warrant the full board’s attention.

Regents will learn about the latest developments in the planning and construction of TCF Bank Stadium in a special work session Thursday. Keeping them informed is crucial, because the regents will make all University approvals for the $248 million project.

The board also will be charged with approving major renovations to Northrop Auditorium and the construction of a new Carlson School of Management building.

Typically, the full Board meets only once a month during a three-hour meeting with a full menu of items. For the past few years the regents have implemented the special work sessions to focus the full board’s attention on one heavyweight issue, said Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter.

Regent Clyde Allen said he’s excited to actually get to work on the stadium project, which received legislative approval in May. Allen said the regents have had special meetings to learn about University realignment and the UMore Park land swap, which will transfer 2,840 acres of University property near Rosemount to the state to help pay for the stadium.

Pfutzenreuter, University President Bob Bruininks and University Services Vice President Kathleen O’Brien will present to the board a timeline and budget for the stadium project. They also will introduce representatives from project management and architect teams.

Regent Frank Berman said picking a good architect is important to the project.

The regents will host more special work sessions for the stadium as plans are further developed, said Regent Patricia Simmons. The focused meetings are a good way to keep the board “well informed and agile,” she said.

Carlson School expansion approval

The stadium isn’t the only new building coming soon to campus. In addition to voting on approval of Northrop Auditorium renovations, the regents also will consider the construction of a new building for the Carlson School. If approved, four-story Hanson Hall will sit on the West Bank campus’ southern edge. It will house the business school’s undergraduate programs as well as the economics department, which is under the College of Liberal Arts. A skyway will connect the new building to the existing Carlson School building.

Economics department chairman Ed Foster said it makes sense for economics, which is located in Heller Hall, to have a place in the new Carlson School building. Many faculty members work in the Carlson School and the economics department, he said. Also, many business school students take classes in the department or are involved with economics department research.

Foster said the other CLA social sciences departments are “desperately crowded” in the social sciences building. When economics moves to the new Carlson School building, it will allow other social sciences departments to take the economics department’s place in Heller Hall, he said.

As for the third and fourth floors that economics will occupy in the new building, Foster couldn’t be happier.

“It is terrific space,” he said.