The 1906-built Folwell Hall on the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus is wrapping up a $34.5 million renovation.
Hall, which has the most classroom space of any building on the East
Bank of campus, is slated to reopen this August, in time for the fall
semester that begins Sept. 6, according to university spokesperson Kelly
Soon, the departments that relocated when the building
closed in June 2010, including Asian Languages and Literatures; French
and Italian; German, Scandinavian and Dutch; and Spanish and Portuguese,
will settle back in.
The current preservation work links up
with the 2007 exterior preservation in an effort to extend the
building's lifetime another 50 to 100 years, Folwell "will be
reinvigorated from the top to bottom, inside and out," O'Brien says.
the building, historic attributes such as the yellow- and gray-shaded
Italian marble on the first floor, wrought-iron stair railings,
fireplaces, and elaborate woodwork have been painstakingly renovated.
"All of that has been removed and cleaned up and put back in place," she
The classrooms, many of which have been consolidated to
be more flexible, will be equipped with cutting-edge technologies to
keep pace with new learning opportunities. Students will connect with
foreign-language learners in other countries "so they can practice each
others' languages with native speakers."
Classrooms will also
display foreign-language news and other programming. "It helps connect
students with the world and immerse them in foreign culture and
languages," she says.
Additionally, the classrooms will be much
quieter than they used to be, without the jet engine-sized air
conditioners that language students once had to suffer through, she
Mechanical and electrical systems and the windows have
been upgraded to be more efficient. Accessibility was also a priority; a
connection to the Gopher Way tunnel system was added to help out in
this area, as well, she says.
Source: Kelly O'Brien, University of Minnesota spokesperson
Writer: Anna Pratt