Skip to main content

U of M Rochester unveils master plan for pedestrian-only campus

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The University of Minnesota has ambitious plans for its small Rochester campus that include a pedestrian-only campus anchored by a 126,000-square-foot academic building nestled in southwest downtown.

The plan, unveiled at a Board of Regents facilities panel meeting Thursday, aims to "weave the campus into the fabric of downtown Rochester while creating and maintaining a distinctive identity for UMR that serves as a conduit and catalyst to leverage intellectual and economic resources in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota."

Check out the full 151-page plan here (a pdf that includes data and maps.)

Small school, big plans

Eight-year-old UMR is a small campus – just 750 or so undergraduates and grad students – currently housed in three downtown buildings. Conveniently located near Mayo Clinic, the school's primary focus is getting students ready for emerging jobs in health care, offering degrees in health sciences and biosciences.

The new master plan calls for a campus that eventually includes seven buildings, including the Rochester Area Family YMCA building, and enough space to double current enrollment, the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports.

"The long-term vision for the campus is that it would become a pedestrian-only space, but it would still have an urban feel," Jay Hesley, UMR's assistant vice chancellor for institutional advancement, told the Rochester Post-Bulletin.

The main building, which might not be constructed for another six to eight years, could be seven to eight stories, house classrooms, labs and meeting spaces and cost up to $60 million, KAAL reports. Funding sources have not yet been finalized, although the city of Rochester has committed $10 million, KAAL notes.

"This is trying to bring it all together in terms of how does UMR fit with the development of a campus in downtown Rochester for the long run," Hesley said. "And that's the thing to keep in mind. This is the long run."

A campus master planning process started in 2009, and Sasaki & Associates, which specializes in melding campuses into urban settings, began drawing up designs earlier this year.

The firm has also been involved in broader plans to re-imagine all of downtown Rochester as the city and its biggest employer, Mayo Clinic, aim to revitalize the city core. Last year, state lawmakers agreed to invest $327 million as part of a $5 billion Mayo plan to create a "destination medical center" in Rochester.

The full Board of Regents is expected to set the plan in motion with an approval at its October meeting.

Next Up

minneapolis police

Hunt for suspect who broke into apartment, fatally stabbed man

The homicide is the 57th to happen this year in the city.

minnesota state fair

How to save money at the Minnesota State Fair this year

The fair released its money-saving tips Thursday, including on parking, admission and entertainment.

Motel 6 Rochester

Threat of 'potential overdoses' among youths prompts Motel 6 raid

Rochester police says fentanyl pills were among the items seized.

boyd huppert

Boyd Huppert, Twin Cities TV stations among Murrow Award winners

The KARE 11 personality known for his 'Land of 10,000 Stories' feature was among the national winners.

Bar beer

Study: Excessive drinking cost Minnesotans almost $8 billion in 2019

The study was published by the Minnesota Department of Health Thursday.


Price of Disney+ is going up, unless you want ads

The ad-free version of Disney+ will increase from $7.99 per month to $10.99 per month, effective Dec. 8.


Mall of America shooting suspects arrested in Chicago

The two suspects were spotted leaving a barber shop.

Flickr - minneapolis police officer close-up belt camera - Tony Webster

Walz: Increased state law enforcement presence to stay in Twin Cities

A multi-agency effort to curb crime will go on until further notice.


Bloomington PD to provide update on Mall of America shooting investigation

There's unconfirmed reports the suspected gunman and an accomplice have been arrested.