Pillsbury Hall Renovation
In the news
- "Gov. Dayton signs higher education bill and University bonding bill." Minnesota Daily, May 31, 2017
- "Without state funding Pillsbury Hall could close, UMN officials say." Minnesota Daily, February 20, 2017
- TPT's Almanac profiles Pillsbury Hall and our renovation plans. Part one (segment at 25:04) first aired August 5, 2016. Part two (at 16:14) aired on August 12.
- "Beeson, Omari: Preparing Minnesota's future thinkers, leaders, creators." Pioneer Press, April 15, 2016
- "Renewal of pivotal building at the U deserves legislative support." Star Tribune, January 5, 2016
- "The architectural significance of Pillsbury Hall." Star Tribune, January 11, 2016
- "U to renovate historical hall." Minnesota Daily, September 17, 2015
The 2017 Bonding Bill signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton on May 30 funds four of the seven building and maintenance projects listed on the University of Minnesota's Capital Bonding Request, for a total of $119.9 million. At number six on the University's request list, the Pillsbury Hall Renovation was not funded, but, with three building projects above it on the list fully funded or nearly so, Pillsbury Hall is expected to move up significantly for next year's capital bonding request.
The Department of English is grateful for the support and encouragement the Pillsbury Hall Renovation received this year from leaders in the House and Senate. Senator Kari Dziedzic introduced the bill SF 860 to fund renovation. In the House, Representative Drew Christensen introduced HF 1868, and Lyndon Carlson and Alice Hausman co-signed.
We are pleased that the Pillsbury Hall Renovation will be part of the University of Minnesota’s current Capital Campaign, which launches its public phase in the fall of 2017. This distinction is a mark of the importance of the project to the University—and an acknowledgement of how much Pillsbury Hall’s renovation will benefit students, University programs, and the citizens of Minnesota.
If we receive state bonding support in 2018 for the renewal of Pillsbury Hall, English will join other humanities departments in neighboring Folwell, Nicholson, Nolte, and Jones Halls, creating a hub for collaborations on research, teaching, and public engagement. (And the department's current space—our "temporary" housing for almost 50 years—will be eagerly taken up by Lind Hall’s main tenant, the College of Science & Engineering, to meet the high demand for computer science professionals.)
The 6,000-plus students who take English classes annually will experience 21st-century classrooms in an iconic 1889 building—the second-oldest on campus, named in honor of John S. Pillsbury, the "father of the University." (The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the renovation will comply with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Preservation.)
The renovated Pillsbury Hall will feature production spaces equipped with technologies that enable journal editing, video making, digital storytelling, website building, and web-based research. Rooms for events will be used for the many now hosted annually by English and other humanities departments, from public readings by important authors such as Zadie Smith, Eula Biss, Nuruddin Farah, and Karl Ove Knausgaard (all past visitors), to the annual English Undergraduate Conference.
Housed in a state-of-the-art facility, English will attract the most talented young faculty and the most promising graduate students. We will be able to provide not only our usual rigorous intellectual education but also an expansion of the service-learning, laboratory, and internship opportunities that channel undergraduate students into post-graduation employment and civic life.
How can you help?
- Write or email your state senator and representative urging their support of the Pillsbury Renovation Project. You can find your district representatives and their contact information here.
- Sign up for UMN Advocates and watch your email for calls to action.
- Support the Pillsbury Hall project financially. We will be raising part of the renovation funds through private donations. You can give securely online at http://z.umn.edu/renovatePH
- Check out the history of the Pillsbury Hall Renovation project.