Campus construction aids economy
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
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. Construction will create 325 on-site jobs and a total of 961 off-site, direct and indirect jobs, according to Dan McKay of McGough, the St. Paul-based construction manager at-risk.
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.