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Civic Center expansion nears next phase

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The view from the front door of the Rochester Art Center shows a forest of steel pilings as part of the construction process on expansion of the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.

Construction at Mayo Civic Center on a $79 million expansion project is nearly ready to enter a new phase, transitioning from below-grade work to vertical building.

Demolition on the site is now about 90 percent complete, said Knutson Construction Superintendent Rich Reding.

The project is on track with its schedule and projections to have the skyway over Civic Center Drive Southeast reconnected and open by late December.

Pile driving continues in front of the building. About 550 piles are needed to provide the foundation for the new addition and, as of Wednesday, more than half have been placed.

After driving piles in the front of the building, construction crews will move to the rear of the building to place another 80 piles to support a kitchen addition.


After about two more weeks of pile driving work, construction crews anticipate moving on to pouring concrete slabs for the ground level and by late July beginning to build the structural steel of the building, said Andy Krogstad, Mayo Civic Center managing director.

When structural steel work begins, Rochester passersby will begin to get a sense of the size and shape of the finished product, an exciting prospect for many after the initial months of demolition and below-grade work, Krogstad said.

"We were told going in it was going to be several months of this demolition, utility work, kind of this necessary but unexciting work that needs to take place," he said. "People will be excited once you start to see a building take shape."

Pedestrians, motorists and cyclists who regularly travel near the construction site are probably getting accustomed to the traffic plan now in place on Civic Center Drive Southeast and Third Avenue Southeast. With the exception of minor adjustments, the current traffic configuration will be in place through late next year.

"We're making a couple of tweaks to it next week … but generally, what you see is likely what will be there for the foreseeable future," Krogstad said.

Additional barriers will be added along Civic Center Drive to deter pedestrians crossing the roadway, except at crosswalks.

"If (pedestrians) cross at the lights, everything would be a whole lot better," Reding said.

Daily operations at the civic center continue almost uninterrupted , sans use of the former grand lobby and ballroom.


"The vast majority of the space is still available," Krogstad said. "We lost the ballroom and the front lobby, so we lost valuable space, but not enough that it forced the loss of significant business at all.

"Obviously there are some adjustments that need to be made in terms of accessing the building, and then once in here, how to maneuver through some of these areas that are now closed. … For the most part, customers have been very, very cooperative," he said.

For more information on the expansion project, see the Mayo Civic Center website and the "expansion" tab.

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