St. Kate’s University to Close Minneapolis Campus
The Old Main building on St. Kate's soon-to-close Minneapolis campus. (Photo courtesy of St. Kate's)

St. Kate’s University to Close Minneapolis Campus

The university will shift all operations to St. Paul in a $10 million consolidation and renovation project.

St. Catherine University is pulling up stakes from one half of the Twin Cities. The university disclosed earlier this week that it will move all activity out of its two Minneapolis buildings and into its core, soon-to-be renovated St. Paul campus, off Randolph Avenue.  

 

The shift is part of a $10 million campus integration plan for the university’s overall 1.2 million square feet, explains St. Kate’s senior communications specialist Sara Berhow. That’s considerably less than the $17 million it would have taken to complete needed repairs to the Minneapolis buildings.

 

So St. Kate’s decided to retrofit the St. Paul campus to accommodate the approximately 800 Minneapolis-based students and related Minneapolis site functions, including the associate degree program and many of the school’s healthcare programs.

 

Duplications will be eliminated in the consolidation—for example, the Minneapolis bookstore
will close altogether, since there’s one on the St. Paul campus.

 

In addition to the financial motivation, Berhow notes another advantage of consolidation.

 

“We have services, resources and amenities available on our St. Paul campus that will be more convenient for all our students, faculty and staff to take advantage of once they are all based in St. Paul,” she says, citing food options, library hours, the fitness center, and participation opportunities in campus events, as examples.

 

The consolidation announcement comes just a couple months after news that the university expects to cut student services and jobs due to lower enrollment – it’s at 5,000 now and fell 6.2 percent from 2012 to 2016, reported MPR in May. It also comes a little over a year after the school dropped its music and theater programs, as the Pioneer Press reported May 2017.

 

St. Kate’s does not anticipate any further program or workforce reductions to occur as a direct result of the campus integration project, says Berhow, but it will shake things up in St. Paul.

 

“[The project] will potentially impact all areas of the campus as we re-envision how to best meet student needs and continue to provide a high-quality learning environment,” says Berhow.

 

She notes that the university’s Whitby Hall, which currently houses both healthcare and liberal arts and science programs, will become primarily dedicated to healthcare, as the health-related programs from the Minneapolis locale will be moved there.

 

Additionally, certain student resource programs in the Coeur de Catherine building will be moved around to improve student accessibility and create space for new faculty offices for the liberal arts and science programs displaced out of Whitby.

 

Other renovation and relocation plans are still in development but will involve revitalizing unused space and reconfiguring already in-use areas.

 

Funding for the project includes a pending $8.5 million in revenue bonds and $1.5 million in excess reserve funds. The university has tapped DLR Group for design help and McGough for construction.

 

The work is expected to be ongoing from now through June 2020, but operations in the Minneapolis facilities will continue uninterrupted until St. Paul is fully ready to absorb the students and programs.

 
Plans for future use or sale of the Minneapolis site are as yet undetermined.