From the Department of Exaggeration, Morrill Hall
Committee on Finance and Planning
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Former CLA Dean and now Cultural Czar Rosenstone:
"The Transformation of Northrop."
It will be a fundamentally new facility when the project is completed, Dr. Rosenstone began. It will be transformed from a building that makes modest (at best) contributions to academic life to one that is a vital center of distinction that advances key academic priorities, from one that is a rock in the stream (that people walk around) to one that is a destination, from one that is irrelevant to students (who go in it for convocation and graduation and never otherwise) to a bustling, dynamic place for collaboration, study, and conversation central to everyday life on campus. It will be transformed from a building rarely used (it is mostly dark during the day and rarely used in the evening, but it costs about $1 million per year to maintain) to one that is teeming with activity all the time, from one that is outdated with dreadful acoustics and distant sightlines to a preeminent cultural center with leading-edge technologies (and world-class performance space). It will be transformed from a building unconnected with the people of Minnesota to a community forum. And finally, it will be transformed from an invisible facility to one that is a global platform that engages the greatest minds in the world and connects the University with global audiences (right now it does not have the capacity to host international conferences).
A global platform that engages the greatest minds in the world? Cough, cough..
The University is very concerned about the fragility of the building. Northrop is egregiously out of compliance with code and life-safety requirements and code officials could close the building at any time.
If that is actually the case, Czar Rosenstone, it sounds like the University should immediately close Northrop because of safety concerns. Why don't you do this? And why wasn't something done earlier? There are these HEAPR funds that you obviously know about...
Dr. Rosenstone described the process by which the University recruited executive and design architects (Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc. was selected for both tasks after a competitive selection process, in part because it has worked on campuses and has been very much involved in historic preservation and renovation).
Ah, I see. So the fix is already on. SOP at Morrill. Use funds - from where? - to do your own planning and then, voila, it is a fait accompli! This is exactly the stunt pulled with UMore Park.
We don't have a proper facility to host an international conference?
Well, goollee Gomer, let's run right out and build one?
Ever heard of the Minneapolis convention center? What's wrong with that?
And why - exactly - do we need another world class music hall?
There are numerous such facilities in the Twin Cities area. The hubris and illogic is beyond belief.
But I guess if you are a czar, you need a kingdom.
Leadership matters. And it is sorely lacking in Morrill and in Northrop.