Tracking the orange cones: your map for campus construction

The University’s Capital Planning and Project Management office will spend about $535.5 million on construction through 2017.

by Barry Lytton

The city of Minneapolis is known for its winters, long seasons blanketed by somber streets and bitter cold.

But after the snow melts, summer’s sawdust collects and streets roar alive with the buzz of jackhammering and the melodic beep of backing trucks.

This summer was no exception. At least 19 major construction projects — ranging from building renovations to street reconstruction — are underway in the University of Minnesota area.

“We try to focus [construction efforts] when students aren’t on campus,” said Monique MacKenzie, director of architecture and planning for the University’s Capital Planning and Project Management office.

The city’s Public Works department is leading nine of the projects, while the other 10 on-campus projects are progressing under CPPM.

The average University project costs about $53 million, though the cost range is wide. For example, the ongoing construction of a new Ambulatory Care Center has a $165 million price tag.

Minneapolis has the potential for even more growth, said associate professor of urban and regional planning Carrisa Schively Slotterback.

“There is an interest at looking at higher-intensity places … that are served by transit, where there is already a high intensity of activity [and] a mix of residential, commercial, office and public uses like parks and recreation,” she said.

Construction in the campus area is split among private development, public works and the University, with no official liaison between them.

That requires close communication between the University and the city as each entity plans for projects in close proximity, MacKenzie said.

“I would call it an interactive system to get projects approved and underway,” she said.

The city’s construction season only lasts from “April until Thanksgiving,” Deputy Director of Public Works Heidi Hamilton said.

Though the projects listed only run until 2017, construction in a large city is never really over.


Ambulatory Care Center
Start date: November 2013
End date: September 2015
Cost: $165 million
University of Minnesota Physicians and the Medical Center, Fairview, are partnering to build an academic ambulatory care center
Amundson Hall Gore Annex addition
Start date: April 2013
End date: September 2014
Cost: $29.7 million
The creation of a four-story, about 40,000-square-foot addition to Amundson Hall for laboratory and office spaces
Church Street reconstruction
Start date: July 2014
End date: September 2014
Cost: $700,000
A complete reconstruction of Church Street, including a pedestrian bike mall, improved lighting and utility
Combined heat and power plant
Start date: November 2014
End date: June 2016
Cost: $96 million
An overall renovation to the Old Main Heating Plant Building, originally built in 1912
Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Start date: September 2013
End date: August 2014
Cost: $1.2 million
Phase two of an exterior renovation that will replace damaged concrete and bricks and include sidewalk repairs
Kolthoff Hall
Start date: Unknown
End date: August 2014
Cost: $1.5 million
Bike and pedestrian improvments to Kolthoff Hall, with new stairs and ramps
Microbiology research hall
Start date: March 2014
End date: December 2015
Cost: $60.56 million
The creation of a new laboratory devoted to microbiology research
Northrop Auditorium
Start date: Winter 2011
End date: Winter 2014
Cost: $80.83 million
Phase two of Northrop Auditorium’s renovations
Tate Lab of Physics Science and Teaching renovation
Start date: Summer 2015
End date: Fall 2017
Cost: $92.5 million
Complete renovation of the Tate Lab’s “obsolete labs and antiquated classrooms,” with more than 30 teaching labs
Fourth Street South Ramp and auxiliary lane
Start date: February 2014
End date: November 2014
Cost: $13 million
A new ramp to northbound Interstate 35W at Fourth Street Southeast and an extra lane on University Avenue Southeast connecting to Stinson Boulevard Northeast
Eighth Street Southeast paving
Start date: Summer 2014
End date: Postponed to 2015
Cost: Unknown
A repavement and addition of sidewalks, boulevards and lighting extending from 15th Avenue Southeast eastward to the street’s end
10th Avenue Southeast Bridge rehabilitation
Start date: 2015
End date: 2016
Cost: Unknown
A rehab of the bridge to repair deteriorated concrete areas
Bluff Street Bicycle Trail
Start date: 2014 construction season
End date: July 2014
Cost: Unknown
An off-road trail connecting downtown through the University’s East and West banks under I-35W
15th Avenue South and Fourth Street South reconstruction
Start date: June 2014
End date: November 2014
Cost: Unknown
A full removal and reconstruction of the streets
Cedar Avenue sidewalks
Start date: August 2014
End date: 2015
Cost: Unknown
Reconstruction and expansion of sidewalks and treescape. Reconfiguration of Cedar Avenue into a three-lane road with added parking
Interstate 94 Exit Ramp to Seventh Street
Start date: May 2014
End date: 2015 construction season
Cost: Unknown Reconfiguring the exit ramp from Fifth Street Southeast to Seventh Street Southeast
Pleasant Street Southeast resurfacing
Start date: August 2014
End date: Mid-August 2014 construction season
Cost: Unknown
Street resurfacing from Washington Avenue Southeast to just south of Arlington Street