U plans to buy property for Rochester campus

Administrators wouldn’t reveal details about the price or location.

by James Nord

The University of Minnesota-Rochester is set to purchase additional property for the three-year-old campus and may be ready to release the location of the expansion by Jan. 1. University administrators wouldnâÄôt reveal the specifics of the purchase, including the price, location or the main purposes of the buildings in the expansion, but said they will relate to the coordinate campusâÄô focus on health sciences and will include administrative buildings and classrooms. The campus will undergo increased construction over the next 20 years and has been active since 1966, but it was not designated as an official campus until 2006. Officials said several areas are still being considered for the first expansion, all in downtown Rochester, and they are reticent to release the precise location for fear that enterprising property acquisition firms might buy the land and resell it to the University at a higher price. Although little specific information is available, the University is working in partnership with the city of Rochester and Mayo Clinic, among other groups, on a downtown Rochester master plan, which has impelled the University to come to a timely decision, said Rochester Assistant Vice Chancellor Jay Hesley. According to the Rochester campus master plan, approved by the regents in February 2009, the campus is set to encompass four to five city blocks and accommodate up to 5,000 students. The University is looking for partnerships to reduce the amount of in-house support it must provide. For instance, there wonâÄôt be any dorms or sports facilities, but students have access to a nearby YMCA covered in their service fees, Hesley said. Additionally, students will have online access to the University library system, but there wonâÄôt be a physical presence. Fifty-seven freshmen are attending the Rochester campus for the 2009-10 school year, Hesley said, and the eventual goal is to sustain roughly 250 freshman admissions yearly. Tuition for the campus is $11,176 per year. Hesley said Rochester residents are happy to have the University and that the campus would have a positive economic impact on the region. âÄúWeâÄôre only working in the areas of health sciences and biotechnology, and for that reason, we think this is a great position to not only support our region but also the state as a whole,âÄù Hesley said. According to the master plan, the campus is projected to create roughly 2,400 jobs and $6.7 million annually in state income tax revenue by 2029.