Student center receives final approval

St. Thomas took its final step toward building the Anderson Student Center, setting up ground breaking for as early as April or May.

The Executive Committee of the St. Thomas Board of Trustees approved plan on Thursday. The only hurdle remaining is approval from the City of St. Paul.

At 210,000 square feet, the new student center will be the largest building project in the university’s history. It will sit on the corners of Summit and Cretin avenues, with a scheduled opening of January 2012. Total cost is estimated at $66 million.

Jane Canney, vice president for student affairs, told the University News Service that the new building will “be the destination for students, faculty and staff.”

“We like to say the student center will be our living room – the real heart of the campus that is so essential and that our students so truly deserve,” Canney said.

The Anderson Student Center will be named after St. Thomas trustee Lee Anderson and his wife, Penny. The couple donated $60 million for the student center and the Anderson Parking Facility, which opened last spring.

The Anderson’s gift was the largest single contribution ever made by an individual or a couple to a college or university in Minnesota. It kicked off “Opening Doors,” St. Thomas’ $500-million capital campaign.