Since its 1914 founding, Dunwoody College of Technology has had few structural renovations to speak of—until now. The Minneapolis-based technical college recently unveiled the first phase of a $10 million renovation that’s been in the works since 2014. Dunwoody officials hope the updates will keep its facilities in line with industry needs now and in the years to come.
The school split the renovation in two phases. “It’s kind of like a big domino effect, once you start working in one area, you have to move things to another area,” says Dunwoody College of Technology president Rich Wagner.
Per its first-phase renovation plan, Dunwoody’s library and admissions offices were expanded further into the existing 24,000-square-foot space they occupied. In place of its gym, Dunwoody has built a two-level study area including a library on the second floor, while leaving a sentimental touch—signed names from 1950s Dunwoody students etched on the ceiling wall. In another area of the school sits a 1915 award-winning model car donated by a car-collecting Dunwoody alum.
Dunwoody's old gym has been replaced with a two-level study area. (Photo provided by Dunwoody College of Technology)
Along with expanded classroom space and the expansion of the school’s Learning Commons and Admissions offices is a newly renovated Welcome Center where students can gather to study or collaborate.
Renovations to the school were done by Mortenson Construction and designed by Credo, a firm that specializes in private, non-profit higher education institutions. Dunwoody leaders also collaborated on the design of the expansions.
“This was an unbelievable construction project,” says Wagner. Construction on the phase-one project began in December of 2017 and was completed in August 2018.
On the education side, Dunwoody has opened a school of engineering—a new area of study for Dunwoody. Along with that are completion programs for students returning to school to complete their Bachelor’s degree. Those new strategic drivers created a need for more space.
Students taking advantage of Dunwoody's new study space in August. (Photo provided by Dunwoody College of Technology)
Moreover, the school has introduced new programs called Women in Technical Careers to bring more women to Dunwoody’s campus and Youth Career Awareness to continue attracting underserved and underrepresented students from primarily the Minneapolis public school system. “We want to help more students have access to a Dunwoody education,” says Wagner.
To date, the school has raised over $40 million out of its $50 million campaign to fund the cosmetic and program changes.
“All this money was raised from private donors and foundations,” says Wagner. The school plans to begin renovation work on its second phase in 2019.
“This space transformation is impressive,” Wagner adds, “and it’s symbolic of the transformation that’s taking place at Dunwoody.”
Dunwoody's new admissions office and front desk area. (Photo provided by Dunwoody College of Technology)