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Milwaukee design firm works on Minn. college project

The expanded Helland Student Center at MCTC will have a lot of glass with views of the park. (Rendering courtesy of Workshop Architects/LHB)

The new and expanded Helland Student Center at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College will have a lot of glass with views of the park. (Rendering courtesy of Workshop Architects/LHB)

By Brian Johnson
Dolan Media Newswires

Minneapolis — Milwaukee-based Workshop Architects Inc. is part of the design team for an $8 million student center project at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

College officials want to break ground next month on the project, which includes 21,000 square feet of new construction and 19,400 square feet of renovation, and aims to create a community hub for students, staff and visitors, according to the college.

Plans call for new and improved areas for student lounges, performances, student life staff offices, student clubs and organizations, support spaces, meeting rooms, a convenience store, and a cafe, coffee shop and juice bar.

A health clinic that opened on campus last year will expand from two to eight rooms, according to Amy Danielson, marketing and communications coordinator for Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

One of the more noteworthy components of the project is a multiuse space that will open up to Loring Park.

“It will be kind of like a garage door that opens to the outdoor plaza space,” Danielson said.

The design team includes LHB Inc., Duluth, Minn., and Workshop Architects.

The Milwaukee firm is a prominent designer of student centers, and has in its portfolio projects for the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Wisconsin-Superior, and other colleges and universities.

At MCTC, school officials wanted “a very open, transparent building that has great views in as well as great views out,” said project manager Bruce Cornwall of LHB. “The president (of MCTC) is very focused on displaying all the activity that is going on inside the building.”

The project will be financed with revenue bonds, which will ultimately be repaid through user fees. Revenue bonds typically pay for projects such as college residence halls, student unions and recreational buildings.

Anoka Ramsey Community College, for example, is using revenue bonds to pay for a $9.9 million expansion and renovation of its health and wellness center, a project that could break ground as soon as October 2011.

Normandale Community College in Bloomington, meanwhile, is working on a 23,400-square-foot, $14.5 million expansion of its Kopp Student Center. That project will bring expanded space for student organizations, dining areas, meeting rooms and more.

The MCTC project is scheduled for completion in early December 2011, Cornwall said.

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