Alumni association’swait for a home ends

by Bei Hu

After 30 years of waiting for a new home, officials from the University Alumni Association are finally making their wish come true.
The officials from the association and two fund-raising organizations hope to start building their new home this spring. The building, which planners have named the University Gateway, will be located at the corner of Washington Avenue and Oak Street.
Planners hope it will host social events and serve as a reminder of the University’s accomplishments. But the building’s primary function will be to house the Minnesota Medical Foundation, the University Foundation and the association.
The medical foundation is an independent entity that raises private funds for the University’s medical school. The University Foundation is dedicated to raising and managing private contributions for other University colleges and schools. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, the foundation raised $72 million in private funding for the University.
The building will take up about 230,000 square feet of land on the former site of the Memorial Auditorium at the east end of the Minneapolis campus. The auditorium was torn down in 1992.
Construction of the building is expected to end in the fall of 1998.
Its construction would make a dream come true by providing the organizations with a visible home on campus, said Larry Laukka, volunteer chair of the University Gateway Committee.
Brad Choate, president and chief executive officer of Minnesota Medical Foundation, agreed with Laukka. “The idea is to create stronger organizations to accomplish the task of raising more money for the University,” he said. “I will look at it as an investment, because it turns into more contributions for the University.”
The alumni association will co-own the building with the two fund-raising organizations.
The three organizations will finance the construction through private contributions. The University has agreed to lease the piece of land to the co-owners and has shown interest to rent office spaces in the building.
Apart from office spaces, the proposed building will also feature memorabilia shops and a great hall for University ceremonies. These will be supplemented by a heritage gallery to “showcase some of the great accomplishments of the University and people from the University, and show those benefits to the state of Minnesota, as well as the nation and the world,” Choate said.
The committee has selected Antoine Predock as the major designer. Although the final architectural design has yet to be worked out, representatives of the University and the three organizations predict the building will have distinctive features.