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Pillsbury Hall Renewal Championed in Star Tribune

Chair Elfenbein and Professor Emerita Sprengnether quoted on the importance of renovation for English—and Minnesota
September 18, 2017

The Star Tribune featured Pillsbury Hall on the cover of its Variety section September 16, describing the building's rich history and its future renovation for the Department of English. "Pillsbury Hall has a place of pride and affection among architecture buffs and the U community," writes Rick Nelson. "For fans of Pillsbury Hall, 2018 could be remembered as the year when the second-oldest building on the University of Minnesota campus receives a much needed $36 million renovation." Nelson details the project's status on the U's pending capital request to the Legislature, for the state's 2018 biennial bonding bill.

The article celebrates the beauty of the building's exterior ("whimsical decorative elements—gargoyles, a Medusa, . . . checkerboard and floral patterns, state and university emblems—continually reveal themselves"). Interviewed for the piece, Regents Professor Emerita Madelon Sprengnether enthuses, "[Pillsbury Hall] has presence, beauty, gravity and solidity. It's magnificent." Nelson also acknowledges the necessity of extensive internal renewal, to include a reimagining of "the mother of all attics" for department readings and performances. According to Chair Andrew Elfenbein, renovation "is a chance to make sure that an old, architecturally breathtaking building on campus gets a new lease on life.

"This can be a 21st-century space that will serve the needs of our many, many students," continues Elfenbein, "and the community." Read the article.