Regents visit construction projects

by Nathan Whalen

A tour bus filled with legislators, regents and students pulled into the parking lot at the new Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in St. Paul on Wednesday afternoon.
The tour went well until the guide reminded the group that the $3.2 million facility, where the women’s soccer team plays and practices, lacks showers because of a budget shortfall.
“I wish they had showers. I feel sorry for them,” said Regents Chairwoman Patricia Spence. The stadium will be equipped with necessary plumbing if showers are added later.
The visit to the 1,000-seat facility was part of a University St. Paul construction-site tour.
The tour started at the future Fleet Services Building site on the corner of Como Avenue and 27th Avenue Southeast.
Workers will try to improve the building’s landscaping during construction. The neighborhood will be shielded from the warehouse with extensive landscaping and new trees.
Next, the tour stopped at Peters Hall, a project to be completed by the end of the year. The former poultry warehouse has been gutted and rebuilt with offices, research and classroom spaces. The School of Social Work will be housed there.
A state legislator on the tour was pleased to see an older building utilized in new ways.
“They have a tendency to tear down too much, and they’ll pay for it someday,” said Rep. Henry Kalis, DFL-Walters, who chairs the House Capital Investment Committee.
The group also toured the future site of the Gortner Avenue Parking Ramp, an 800-space lot. Other buildings scheduled to be renovated include Gortner Labs, Snyder Hall and the greenhouses.

Nathan Whalen covers construction and facilities and welcomes comments at [email protected]