Cina and Heller Hall next on UMD's facelift list

Editors note: edits made on Oct. 17 Next year, students can expect to see and feel a lot of changes on campus.

“We’re pushing very hard for two renovation projects in Cina Hall and Heller Hall,” announced Chancellor Black during the town hall meeting on Oct. 8.

Funding for the projects comes from Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement (HEAPR).

According to a press release from the University of Minnesota, the university has been approved  $290 million in capitol investments, with  $100 million coming from HEAPR funds for the 2014 academic year. UMD is expected to get $9.3 of the $100 million for renovations for Cina and Heller Hall.

The Facilities Condition Assessment (FCA) determines the quality of buildings and then determines the urgency of renovating buildings to make sure they’re on par with codes and regulations. HEAPR funding reflects this priority, and funds are distributed accordingly.

“If a campus has the worst buildings, they get more of that money,” said John Rashid, associate director of UMD’s Department of Facilities Management. “If they have better buildings, they get less of that money. Our buildings are pretty good compared to the rest of the system.”

Rashid said Heller Hall is “the worst building on campus” and has been on FCA’s list since 2005. This is mainly due to the lack of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC). Heller also has other code issues like asbestos tiles and lack of sprinklers for fire safety.

“The HEAPR money we get can only be used for certain things,” said Rashid. “When people leave, renovation happens — (when) they come back, it’s going to look essentially the same.” Rashid added that students will feel the changes in Heller rather than see them.

HEAPR can only fund renovation projects like keeping up with maintenance and changing infrastructure, such as what is being planned for Heller Hall. However, changes in Cina will include addition of a new American Indian Learning Resource Center (AILRC).

“The concept was that they would change the north side of Cina Hall and extend that wall out into the courtyard,” said Rich Smith, director of the Department of American Indian Studies. “The rest of the (AILRC) would come out into that courtyard to make it larger so it would be kind of an extension of the Tweed gallery, the American Indian Studies department and the AILRC.”

The College of Liberal Arts (CLA), the School of Fine Arts (SFA) and the College of Education and Human Service Professions (CEHSP) are collaborating to work and support the changes to come in Cina Hall according to Smith.

Because UMD wasn’t scheduled for a new academic building until 2016, the decision was made to combine the AILRC with the Cina Hall renovation. With big changes happening in Cina Hall, HEAPR funds will only cover a portion of the project, so private and university funding will be used to supplement the remaining budget.

“It’s not a stand-alone building … but it would be a significant enhancement, both of the classroom and office space, but also of exhibit space for our American Indian artifacts,” Black said, describing the project as a way to “provide a showcase area” for the Department of American Indian Studies.

Smith said the Tweed has one of the largest collections of American Indian artifacts in the Midwest with close to 1,000 pieces. He said the renovation would allow artifacts and artwork to be displayed throughout the AILRC, CLA, SFA, CEHSP and the Tweed.

“The changes to come, I’m excited and honored that the deans of those three units and Ken Bloom (director of the Tweed Museum) are included in the concept of this whole thing and that the chancellor is making it a priority,” Smith said.

The university is also advocating for a new chemical science and advanced material building on top of the renovation to Cina and Heller Hall scheduled for next year.

Rashid said preliminary plans for Cina and Heller will begin within the next few weeks while UMD waits to see exactly how much HEAPR money the university will be allocated next year.



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