Board of Regents tours campus construction sites

Patrick Hayes

The University’s Board of Regents, accompanied by local state legislators, toured 12 campus construction sites Wednesday night, commenting on the scope and size of the projects.
State Rep. Peggy Leppik, DFL-Golden Valley, Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, along with Regents and other University administrators, began the tour by peering out the window of the McNamara Alumni Center at the 500-space University Avenue parking ramp, slated to be finished by winter 2001.
Current campus construction projects cost more than $375 million.
The tour continued by bus to sites at Frontier Hall, Riverbend Commons, Walter Library, the law school, the Art Building, Middlebrook Hall, the molecular and cellular biology building, Ford Hall, the architecture building and Northrop Plaza.
The Regents and legislators said they were impressed by the progress and depth of the projects.
“I don’t remember any time when so much stuff has been going on all at once,” Kahn said, adding she was pleased to see that University fund-raising contributions are fully funding seven projects — not taxpayer money.
Regent Bob Bergland commended Eric Kruse, vice president for student services and facilities management, for keeping the projects organized and on schedule.
“We’ll be glad when all this is finished and we can return to a normal lifestyle,” he said.
However, Bergland expressed dismay about the delay of the Coffman Union renovation and other projects on which bids have come in over budget.
Bids for the student union renovation overshot the proposed $32 million budget. The closest bid was $41 million.
The union renovation, which has been delayed indefinitely, was scheduled to be done next fall.
“It’s gotten more expensive than we had planned on,” Bergland said. “I don’t know what we’re going to do.”

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