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With hard hats on and shovels in hand, nearly 300 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and donors broke ground on Hamline’s new University Center on Monday, April 11, 2011. The official groundbreaking ceremony took place at the site where the new building will stand—on the southwest edge of Hamline’s Saint Paul campus at the corner of Snelling and Englewood avenues.

Read more about the event:


From Lowell Bromander,
Associate Vice President for Facilities Services

It is the end of the first month of construction and we are on schedule with our plans. A few things that are complete at this time:

  • the fence is up
  • the pile driving to install the shoring along Snelling Ave was completed last week
  • the trees have been removed and delivered to “Wood from the Hood” for processing
  • the digging began this week and will continue for about six weeks

The hole that we are digging will be roughly 270 feet long by 120 wide by 20 feet deep. When we are completed we will have hauled about 45,000 yards of soil from the site.  A portion will be stored and brought back for reuse at the site. The rest is being used at other construction sites as well. Steps planned for April:

  • Reminder that the Groundbreaking Ceremony will be held on April 11.
  • We will begin to pour concrete footings for the building during the week of April 18.

You can see images below taken throughout March as soil has been removed and trees have been removed and transplanted from the construction site.

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The first University Center Road Show was held on Tuesday, March 15 in the GLC Lobby and Sorin Lobby. Students, faculty and staff stopped by to view pictures, renderings and floorplans of the University Center.

Also, sustainability features were discussed, such as permeable pavers, green roof, high performance glass, and photovalic panels. The next University Center Road Show will be held Wednesday, April 6.

If you have questions or just want to learn more about the University Center visit the road show in Sorin or GLC Lobbies.

From Lowell Bromander, Associate Vice President for Facilities Services

I want to inform you that today, March 1, 2011, we will begin preparing the University Center construction site on the corner of Snelling and Englewood Avenues. The snow will be removed, fences will go up, and construction offices will be established on site. The contractors will also begin surveying and marking the grounds.

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During this early phase of construction, the asphalt path on the west end of Sorin Hall that leads into campus from Englewood Avenue will be permanently closed. Additionally, the sidewalk on the north side of Englewood from Snelling Avenue to Sorin Halll will be blocked off and will remain blocked off throughout the duration of the construction project.

Englewood Avenue will remain open, although there may be some traffic congestion due to the construction vehicles.

We have relocated twelve trees thus far to make space for the University Center. For the remaining trees that must be removed, we are working with a conservation group, Wood for the Hood, to determine how we can recycle or utilize the wood from the trees for furniture, trim, or other aspects of the University Center and other projects on campus.

We anticipate that by mid-March the excavation of the construction site will commence. This means removal of top soil, shoring up the west edge of the site, and digging. We expect this to take about six weeks. The Snelling Avenue sidewalk adjacent to the site will be closed for a portion of the excavation. There will also be heavy truck traffic in the area at that time, because of the soil removal.

Once it is safe to do so, the Snelling Avenue sidewalk adjacent to the site will be reopened for pedestrian traffic, though it may be temporarily closed again at various times throughout the project.

Construction work will take place between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., whenever possible. We do not anticipate any late evening, overnight, or weekend construction at this time. There will, of course, be some noise related to the construction, particularly during one week in which the construction crews will be pile driving for the shoring of the west edge of the site. We have attempted to make the timing of that as nondisruptive as possible by tentatively scheduling it to happen during spring break week, as we know that many people will be away from campus during this time. Facilities Services staff has also met with leadership team members in Robbins Science and Sorin Hall to talk through any concerns.

Thank you for your support as we work to create this exciting new learning and gathering space on campus. Please let me know if you have any questions.

From David McCarthy ’10

David McCarthy '10

David McCarthy '10

Background Info:

I had the opportunity to be a member of the University Center Task Force during the 2009-2010 school year. In my role, I attended meetings with the architects and design teams, met as a committee and discussed how to make the University Center reflect Hamline and its values. In my tenure, I saw the design process start with “the services, offices, and functions, we want this building to have.” It started at this conceptual point, and we worked with the architects to make those visions a reality. Additionally, the architects worked with focus groups of students on aspects such as meeting and organizational space. One particular discussion I remember was with the Hamline Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) group about what kind of dining space would best serve students. We talked about the age-old problem of all-you-can-eat buffets coexisting with ala carte options. Student emphasized that they wanted the freedom of both options as well as the freedom to sit and enjoy a common dining area. I know the design and dining services team got some great input in tackling the issue.

My reasons for supporting the University Center:

In so many respects, Hamline is such a magnificent campus. We have many dedicated faculty and staff that continually build a great academic experience. Additionally, there are always student-planned events put on by more than 40 student organizations. My time in student activities was a learning experience that went along with and crossed over into my work in the classroom. The great thing about Hamline is that there is always an opportunity to lead and learn, and I am very excited that the University Center will reflect both of these principles. As a former president of HUSC, I know this building will be a much needed addition for student organizations. The campus also needs a central gathering space. Not only will the building provide new space, it will repurpose current spaces. I was able to serve on the Campus Planning Committee during the discussions about how to use the Sorin dining space and the current student center.

We are a growing campus and a growing community. During my time, Hamline started a School of Business and the School of Education, both of which are providing new opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students alike. Even now the Graduate School of Liberal Studies is offering opportunities for undergrads. It is time for Hamline to underscore its continued commitment to higher education by building the University Center. One of my favorite things about Hamline is that learning involves the entire community. The University Center represents that commitment to learning within a community.