University of Minnesota completes $92.5 million renovation of historic Tate Hall

Building includes new research labs, classrooms, offices, and public space for star-gazing

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (09/05/2017) — The University of Minnesota completed major construction on a $92.5 million renovation of historic Tate Hall that includes state-of-the-art research labs, classrooms, offices, and public space for stargazing with a rooftop space open to classes and others during astronomy outreach nights.

While finishing touches will continue on the building throughout the fall and early winter, the building is now open for physics, astronomy, and earth sciences classes that will serve more than 5,000 students during fall semester. The renovation turned obsolete labs and antiquated classrooms into vibrant, flexible spaces that will bolster instruction, research, and support services, while preserving the building’s architectural character. The theme of “science on display” is a guiding force for the project.

Tate is the home to the Newton Horace Winchell School of Earth Sciences and the School of Physics and Astronomy. The building houses approximately 350 faculty, post-doctorates, graduate students, and visiting researchers. The building includes 29 teaching labs for physics and astronomy courses and four teaching labs for earth sciences courses. The building also includes 26 research labs—10 for physics and astronomy and 16 for earth sciences.

Other highlights include the new large auditorium that serves as a main location for classes and public events. A four-story atrium with skylight in the center of the building was added, and the historic rooftop observatory was restored and improved, providing more space for public viewings of the night sky.

One unique feature of the building is a public art installation by artist Catherine Widgery that doubles as a puzzle representing the academic disciplines housed in the building.

Originally built in 1926 with two additions in the 1960s, Tate Hall is a prominent building on the University of Minnesota Northrop Mall. Countless students have taken classes and conducted research in the building during the last 89 years.

The Minnesota Legislature funded two thirds of the total project cost, and the University provided the remaining funds. The University chose Alliiance as the building renovation architect and J.E. Dunn Construction was the general contractor.

The building’s official grand opening is set for March 2018.