Facilities, Engineering Building Plans Unveiled

St. Thomas has unveiled plans for a new south campus building to meet the needs of the university’s facilities operations and the School of Engineering.

Construction is planned to begin March 31 on the three-story, 28,000-square-foot building on the parking lot immediately north of McCarthy Gymnasium, and will be completed by September and the opening of the 2014-15 school year.

The $5.6 million building will serve as the Physical Plant’s home for central receiving, recycling, and equipment maintenance and storage operations, and also will provide additional laboratory space for design projects by engineering students and faculty.

Facilities operations have been scattered around campus since 2009, when space was lost to construction of the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex and the sale of a maintenance garage at 2076 Grand Ave. Central receiving operations have been located in temporary quarters on the lot north of McCarthy, and will move to the Anderson Student Center during construction of the new building.

In addition, growth in engineering enrollment has left faculty and students with insufficient space in O’Shaughnessy Science Hall to conduct research projects such as those done by the Senior Design Clinic.

“The new building provides a great opportunity to bring several programs together under one roof and to be more efficient in how we use our space,” said Mark Vangsgard, vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer.

Dr. Don Weinkauf, dean of the School of Engineering, is delighted that his program will have additional space for design and build projects.

“One in 10 freshmen at St. Thomas majors in engineering, and as a result we are bursting at the seams in O’Shaughnessy,” he said. “This will be real working space, where everyone from our freshmen to our seniors will see the engineering process literally unfold in front of them through the work of their own minds and hands.”

Ryan Companies of Minneapolis is the contractor and architect for the building, which will be clad largely in Kasota limestone. Ryan also constructed the adjacent Anderson Parking Facility and the Child Development Center at Grand Avenue and Finn Street.

Here is a floor-by-floor description of the building, which will have elevator service to all four levels:

  • Basement – It will be used for storage.
  • First floor – Central Receiving, the Recycling Center and the Grounds Department will be located here, with sufficient space to handle trucks delivering materials. Engineering will have garage space for deliveries. At this time, recycling operations are in the Physical Plant building on the main campus but need more space.
  • Second floor – The Physical Plant will store and work on vehicles and equipment such as lawn mowers and snow blowers. Those operations now are located around campus, including the parking ramp under Morrison Hall.
  • Third floor – Engineering will have an open floor plan, and also will continue to use its existing laboratory space in O’Shaughnessy.

St. Thomas will preview the plans this month with two neighborhood groups: the West Summit Neighborhood Advisory Committee and the Housing and Land Use Committee of the Macalester-Groveland Community Council.