The original Minneapolis campus overlooked the Saint Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River, but it was later moved about a mile downstream to its current location. The original site is now marked by a small park known as Chute Square at the intersection of University and Central Avenues. The school shut down following a financial crisis during the American Civil War, but reopened in 1867 with considerable financial help from Pillsbury. It was upgraded from a preparatory school to a college in 1869.
The campus now has buildings on both river banks. The ‘East Bank“, the main portion of the campus, covers 307 acres (124 ha). The West Bank is home to Carlson School of Management and the performing arts center. St. Paul campus is home to CBS, CDes, CFANS, and the vet program.
To help simplify the size of campus, the University has broken down the East Bank into several areas: the Knoll area, the Mall area, the Health area, the Athletic area, and the Gateway area.
The Knoll area, the oldest part of the University’s current location, is located in the northwestern part of the campus. Most disciplines in this area relate to the humanities. Burton Hall is home to the College of Education and Human Development. Many buildings in this area are well over one hundred years old and it includes a 13-building group comprising the Old Campus Historic District that is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. One residence hall, Sanford Hall, and one student-apartment complex, Roy Wilkins Hall, are located in this area. The Institute for Advanced Study is located in the Nolte Center.
Northrop Mall or the Mall area, is arguably the center of the Minneapolis Campus. It was based on a design by Cass Gilbert, although his plans were too extravagant to be fully implemented. Several of the campus’s primary buildings surround the Mall area. The Cyrus Northrop Memorial Auditorium provides a northern anchor, with Coffman Memorial Union (CMU) to the south. Four of the larger buildings on the sides of it are the primary mathematics, physics, and chemistry buildings, and Walter Library. The Mall area is home to both the College of Liberal Arts, which is Minnesota’s largest public or private college, and the College of Science and Engineering. Behind CMU is another residence hall, Comstock Hall, and another student-apartment complex, Yudof Hall.
The Health area is to the southeast of the Mall area and focuses on undergraduate buildings for biological-science students, as well as homes to the College of Pharmacy, the School of Nursing, the School of Dentistry, the Medical School, the School of Public Health, and Fairview Hospitals and Clinics. This complex of buildings forms what is known as the University of Minnesota Medical Center. Part of the College of Biological Sciences is housed in this area.
Across the street from Fairview Hospital is an area known as the “Superblock“. The Superblock is a four-city-block space housing four residence halls (Pioneer, Frontier, Centennial and Territorial Halls). The Superblock is one of the most popular locations for on-campus housing because it has the largest concentration of students living on campus and has a multitude of social activities between the four residence halls.
The Athletic area is directly north of the Superblock and includes four recreation/athletic facilities: the University Recreation Center, Cooke Hall, the University Fieldhouse, and the University Aquatic Center. These facilities are all connected by tunnels and skyways allowing students to use one locker-room facility. North of this complex is the TCF Bank Stadium, Williams Arena, Mariucci Arena, Ridder Arena, and the Baseline Tennis Center.
The Gateway area, an easternmost section, is primarily office buildings rather than classrooms and lecture halls. The most prominent building is McNamara Alumni Center. The University is also heavily invested in a biomedical-research initiative and is striving to build five more biomedical-research buildings in ten years that will form a biomedical complex directly north of TCF Bank Stadium.
East Bank notable architecture
The Armory, northeast of the Northrop Mall, is built like a Norman castle, with a sally-port entrance facing Church Street, and a tower originally intended to be the Professor of Military Science‘s residence, until it was found to be too cold. It originally held the athletics department as well as the military-science classes that it now holds.
One of the oldest buildings on campus is Pillsbury Hall, designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style and built using varieties of sandstone available in Minnesota. It has a unique color that is hard to capture in a photograph.
Another new building is the addition to the Architecture building designed by Steven Holl and completed in 2002. It won an American Institute of Architects award for its innovative design. The Architecture building was then renamed Rapson Hall after the local modernist architect and School of Architecture Dean Ralph Rapson.
The University also has historic fraternities and sororities buildings (a “Greek row”) north of Northrop Mall on University Avenue SE.
The West Bank covers 53 acres (21 ha) .
The West Bank Arts Quarter includes:
- Rarig Center (Theatre Arts & Dance)
- The Barbara Barker Center for Dance
- Ferguson Hall (School of Music)
- Ted Mann Concert Hall
- Regis Center for Art
The Quarter is home to several annual interdisciplinary arts festivals.
Wilson Library, the largest library in the University system, is also located on the West Bank as is Middlebrook Hall, the largest residence hall on campus. Approximately 900 students reside in the building named in honor of William T. Middlebrook.
The Washington Avenue Bridge crossing the Mississippi River provides access between the East and West Banks, either on foot, designated bike lanes, or via free shuttle service. The bridge has two separate decks: the lower deck for vehicles and the upper deck for pedestrians. An unheated enclosed walkway runs the length of the bridge and shelters students from the weather. Walking and riding bicycles are the most common mode of transportation among students. University Police occasionally cite individuals for jaywalking in areas surrounding the University resulting in fines as high as $250. This is often done at the beginning of a school year or after pedestrians interfere with traffic.
There are some pedestrian tunnels to get from building to building during harsh weather. The tunnels are marked with signs reading, “The Gopher Way“.
The Minneapolis campus is located near Interstates 94 and 35W and is bordered by the Minneapolis neighborhoods of Dinkytown (on the north), Cedar-Riverside (on the west), Stadium Village (on the southeast), and Prospect Park (on the east).
St. Paul campus
The St. Paul campus is in the city of Falcon Heights. Despite this, all campus buildings have St. Paul street addresses. The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, many other disciplines from social sciences to vocational education are located on this campus. This also includes the College of Continuing Education, College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Biological Sciences. The extensive lawns, flowers, trees, wood lots and the surrounding University research farm plots creates a greener and quieter campus. It has a grassy mall of its own and can be a bit of a retreat from the more-urban Minneapolis campus. Prominent on this campus is Bailey Hall, the St. Paul campus’s only residence hall. There are campus connectors running every 15 minutes on the weekdays when school is in session, allowing students easy access to both campuses.
The Continuing Education and Conference Center, which serves over 20,000 conference attendees per year, is also located on the St. Paul campus.
The St. Paul campus is home to the College of Design’s department of Design, Housing, and Apparel (DHA). Located in McNeal Hall, DHA includes the departmental disciplines of Apparel Design, Graphic Design, Housing Studies, Interior Design, and Retail Merchandising.
The St. Paul campus is known to University students and staff for the Dairy Salesroom and Meat Sales Room. The Dairy Store sells items that are produced in the University’s state-certified dairy plant by students, faculty and staff.
The St. Paul campus borders the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. The State Fair is one of the largest in the United States, usually lasting twelve days, from late August through Labor Day in early September. Because of the heavy traffic associated with the State Fair, classes do not start on either campus until after it is over, enabling the Fair to use the campus-parking facilities.
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All information about UofM courtesy of Wikipedia.