Construction aids economy

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Drawing of the south facade of the proposed NHEC

Drawing of the south facade of the proposed $31.1 million NHEC. Image courtesy of JLG Architects.

Drawing of the new west entrance to Shoemaker Hall, the university's oldest residence hall Aerial-view drawing of ISELF A photo, looking east, of the 801 Building, which will be demolished to make way for the $45 million ISELF building Drawing of the south facade of the proposed NHEC 

Construction at St. Cloud State is delivering a much-needed boost to the Central Minnesota economy.

A $6.5 million residence hall renovation completed in August, a $44.8 million science and engineering building set to break ground this fall, and a planned $31.1 million hockey center renovation create an economic multiplier effect that is boosting investment, consumer spending and employment, according to university officials.

The St. Cloud area is in a fragile recovery from the recession that began locally in the fall of 2008, according to the authors of the St. Cloud Area Quarterly Business Report, professors Rich MacDonald and King Banaian.

The construction sector in Stearns and Benton counties remains depressed. St. Cloud State economists Banaian and MacDonald report a 7 percent decline in construction employment between April 2010 and April 2011.

The largest of the campus construction projects, the $44.8 million Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility (ISELF), which could break ground as early as October, is slated to sustain 900-950 on-site jobs through early 2013, according to Dan McKay of McGough, the St. Paul-based construction manager at-risk.

In addition, ISELF is expected to directly support nearly 320 off-site jobs and indirectly impact another 150 off-site jobs, McKay said.

The smallest project, the recently completed $6.5 million renovation of the north wing of the Shoemaker residence hall, employed a Rogers general contractor and a dozen subcontractors from the St. Cloud area, according to Dan Pedersen, director of residential life. Read a story about the renovations.

An expanded and renovated National Hockey and Event Center (NHEC) is the south anchor of Fifth Avenue Live, a mixed-use development which promises to revitalize the eponymous boulevard that bisects St. Cloud’s oldest areas.

The $31.1 million NHEC project will convert the two-decade-old hockey arena into a regional entertainment venue that can host hockey games, concerts, shows and other athletic events. Construction of the $14 million first phase could start in 2011, according to university officials.

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