Rochester campus looking to expand

The campus will request more than $7 million from the city.

When the University of Minnesota-Rochester presents its plan for a permanent downtown campus to the Rochester City Council on Monday afternoon, it will also be asking the council to release $7.3 million for transitional academic space. With full recruiting and admissions set to begin in the fall of this year, the schoolâÄôs master plan calls for campus enrollment to climb from a few hundred students to between 4,500 and 5,000 students in the next 20 years. To accommodate those potential students, the University plans to acquire four to five contiguous blocks in downtown Rochester for its major academic and administrative buildings, but a specific location still needs to be determined, buildings designed and funding secured. Currently, the University of Minnesota-Rochester is temporarily housed on the third and fourth floors of a mall that has been renamed The Shops at University Square. Jay Hesley, RochesterâÄôs assistant vice chancellor for institutional advancement, said the University will be asking for money to complete two projects because it will need additional classroom space by fall 2011. It will ask for about $1.5 million for the completion of lab facilities at the University Square location and around $5.8 million for 25,000 square feet of transitional classroom space. The transitional classroom space is located downtown and will be part of a larger development set to begin this spring or summer, Hesley said. The two floors of classrooms will be above restaurant and retail space and below several levels of housing owned by GH Holdings, a Rochester-based company. The University will only be investing in the two floors of classroom space and not in any of the housing, he said. The $7.3 million the University wants is the last of $28 million the city of Rochester raised with a sales tax initiative to help the city attract a University campus, Stevan Kvenvold, a Rochester city administrator, said. After the city built a new field house for Rochester Community and Technical College, there was $11.3 million left, he said. The University used $4 million of that to help refit the third and fourth floors of the shopping mall where the campus is currently housed, Kvenvold said, leaving the $7.3 million. Rochester City Council President Dennis Hanson said he wouldnâÄôt know the details of the request until the meeting, but because the money was specifically earmarked for capital projects at the University, it should be well received by the city. The meeting will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday in Rochester City Hall, room 104, and broadcast on government access Channel 19.