A much-needed expansion and renovation of the University of Minnesota’s 90-year-old Pioneer Hall opened on time to students in August 2019. TKDA led the campus building design of the $104.5 million project.
Pioneer Hall, the second-oldest dormitory on campus, is prominently situated on the east bank of the Mississippi River, one of four residence halls located within the UMN’s Superblock residential district.
The renovation project increased the number of beds from 693 on four floors to 756 beds on five floors. The dining hall expanded from 285 seats to 850 seats, large enough to accommodate all 2,900 Superblock residents, and is open to the public as a popular lunch destination.
The building now includes community and recreational spaces as well as office and support spaces within a 252,391-square-foot footprint, more than 40 percent larger than its original size.
The University’s Board of Regents made the decision to preserve a significant amount of the building’s Georgian Revival-style exterior, which exhibited a high level of historic integrity. To accommodate Pioneer Hall’s new housing and dining program, portions of the structure were demolished, while the character-defining portions of the residence hall fronting on Fulton, Harvard, Essex and Walnut streets — constituting 40 percent of the upper floor areas — were preserved and renovated. By expanding those floors toward the interior courtyards with new construction and removing all interior partitions and stairs, new residential communities are now located on each side of the widened, fully accessible corridors.
The newly constructed 850-seat dining area is located at street level beneath the new east-west center wing and extends out into the southern courtyard space defined by the existing south wings. Elevators now provide access to all floors, and all building entrances are accessible.
TKDA provided architecture, electrical, mechanical and structural design services, and collaborated with KWK Architects of St. Louis. McGough Construction was the Construction Manager at Risk for the project.