UMTC student housing investments focus of Board of Regents meeting

University seal

What: University of Minnesota Board of Regents meeting
When: Wednesday, July 6, 2016:
Facilities, Planning and Operations Committee, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Full Board meeting, 12:30 – 3 p.m.
Where: Sixth floor, McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak St. S.E., Minneapolis

With undergraduate enrollment on the Twin Cities campus expected to grow over the next five years, University of Minnesota leaders are preparing to ensure U housing is able to support those goals. 

At its meeting next week, the U’s Board of Regents will discuss two initiatives designed to protect and enhance existing facilities and expand capacity. Both proposed projects support the goals set forth in the Twin Cities campus enrollment plan — approved by the Board in March — which calls for modest growth in the undergraduate student body, housing 90 percent of first-year students in University housing, retaining 25 percent of those students for a second-year experience and providing housing to 10 percent of the incoming transfer student class.

Pioneer Hall renovation and Superblock dining facility
For first-year students, living on campus increases academic achievement, retention and timely graduation while providing a wide variety of support services to ensure students are well-equipped to address the challenges of college life. For nearly 90 years, thousands of students have called historic Pioneer Hall home. However, the building — which currently houses close to 700 first-year students, a 190-seat dining facility and limited student support spaces — is in need of significant modifications.

The Facilities, Planning and Operations Committee will review multiple options for Pioneer, with a full renovation recommended. The proposed $76.2 million renovation plan will:

  • retain character-defining features of the building, which is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places;
  • expand the building to provide space for adequate common areas as well as designated individual and group study/learning spaces that support academic success; and
  • protect the University’s residence hall capacity for first-year students.

Additionally, Pioneer’s current dining facility does not meet the needs of today’s students. A proposed $22.8 million, 850-seat, dining facility will more effectively and efficiently serve all 2,800 students living in the Superblock — a highly desirable, first-year focused neighborhood consisting of four residence halls (Pioneer, Centennial, Frontier and Territorial) adjacent to the heart of the East Bank campus. Together, the new dining facility and a renovated Pioneer Hall will match the experience offered in the highly popular 17th Avenue Residence Hall, which opened in 2013.

Leasing off-campus living spaces for students
The University is also proposing to enter into two Master Lease Agreements for local apartment buildings, a strategic opportunity to achieve enrollment plan goals related to second-year students. A total of 920 beds are proposed to be leased with Radius at 15th, located at 701 15th Ave. S.E. (772 beds), and Keeler Apartments, located at 317 17th Ave. S.E. (164 beds). The leases would be valid for five years, beginning in August 2017, totaling approximately $8 million annually.

Utilizing a master lease for apartments has been an effective approach for the U to meet increased student housing demand, used since 1999 at University Village, 2515 University Ave. S.E. Leasing provides great flexibility for managing changes in student demand over time and responding to new options in the market.

Room and board fees will fund the costs of both projects, which align with the proposed vision for long-term development of the Twin Cities campus. The Board is expected to act on a resolution to endorse that vision as well.

Alumni engagement increasing
More than 466,000 U of M alumni make a difference at the University, in Minnesota and across the globe. University of Minnesota Alumni Association (UMAA) leaders will share how in its annual update to the Board.

U alumni are key contributors to the state’s economy in a wide variety of fields. In fact, the U trains nearly 70 percent of Minnesota’s health care workforce and all pharmacy, dentistry and veterinary medicine graduates possess a U of M degree. According to the 2011 economic impact report, U alumni have started 10,000 plus companies in Minnesota, employing 500,000 people and generating revenue of $100 billion.

The Board will also:
review metrics included in the University Progress Card, a robust tool used to track progress on high level institutional goals that was approved by the Board in October 2015.
receive an update on the Rochester campus’ strategic plan. Chancellor Stephen Lehmkuhle will outline key accomplishments associated with the UMR strategic plan and areas of alignment with the Twin Cities campus strategic plan. This is the fourth and final in a series of presentations from system campus leaders. Future action based on the four presentations is expected.

The Board’s Facilities, Planning and Operations Committee will meet from 10-11:30 a.m. Wednesday, followed by a full Board meeting scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. Regents will hold their annual planning retreat Thursday, July 7. More information, including meeting times and locations, can be found on the Regents website.

Media Contacts

Julie Reuvers
Student Affairs
Public Relations
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University of Minnesota, Twin Cities