Metropolitan State University plans major expansion

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Once called “the university without walls,” Metro State has become a major institution that anchors the gateway to the Dayton’s Bluff community. Soon we will see major construction on both East 6th and East 7th Streets, and the neighborhood will have a new look. Three major buildings will be added to the campus in the next few years: the first is a parking structure, followed by a Science Education Building and Student Center. The quality of design, the size and the placement of these new buildings on and around our main commercial district will have lasting impact on Dayton’s Bluff for decades to come.

Most of the parking problems will be alleviated by a parking structure to be built on the site of the current surface parking lot on the eastern end of the block between Maria and Bates Avenues. The University has secured revenue bond funding to pay for construction, and student and faculty parking assessments will support repayment of the bonds. This method ensures that students and faculty will use the ramp rather than neighborhood streets, because they will have prepaid for parking in the ramp. The north wall of the ramp will face 7th Street with the east end on Bates, across from the city-owned vacant land that will soon be developed with a mix of housing and commercial uses.

The Science Education Center, on 6th Street east of Mounds Boulevard, adds a significant new asset that supports educational excellence and an increased student population on the main campus. A Student Center, the first at MSU, also reflects the increased importance of this campus to the growing number of students coming from all over the metropolitan area. The vast majority of MSU students are working adults with jobs and families. In fact, they look very much like the residents of this community: diverse, hard-working, and filled with aspirations for a better, more prosperous future.

The changes at MSU come at the same time other major opportunities are coming to fruition. Beacon Bluff, the old 3M site, has its first major tenant on East 7th Street; the East Side Clinic is under construction and will soon offer increased medical and dental services for the East Side. Make it Happen on East 7th Street, the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council economic development initiative, is stimulating business growth and improvement through the $500,000 STAR funding for capital investment on 7th Street. More than 10 projects are planned with an estimated total capital investment of over $1.2 million in 2013. All this energy and intentional focus on reclaiming the main street of Dayton’s Bluff will bring economic vitality and social transformation. Let’s work together, build together, grow together and celebrate the future we create together.