Make way for green space: Old Veterinary Anatomy Building demolished
(September 23, 2011) - Those who spend their time on the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul Campus may notice an open space where the Old Veterinary Anatomy Building once stood. As part of a project to modernize, University officials decided to tear down this and eight other buildings on its three campuses.
Built in 1901 for $25,000 (about $671,000 today), the building was erected to house a rapidly growing veterinary medicine program. Originally called the “Veterinary Medicine Building,” it contained a state-of-the-art operating room with an 80-person capacity amphitheater, pharmacy and instrument room, box stall ward, contagious disease room, dissecting room, physiology lab, museum, and private office space.
Over the years, the building underwent many changes. In 1915, an east wing was added. With the establishment of the School of Veterinary Medicine in 1947, it was renamed the “Old Veterinary Anatomy Building.” In 1992, the east wing was demolished due to its poor condition. Shortly after, in 1996, the second floor was condemned as unsound and unsafe, and subsequently, the entire building stopped being used for academic purposes. Finally, on September 14, 2011, the ivy-covered Old Veterinary Anatomy Building was torn down.
In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio about the decision to tear down the building, the University’s senior architect, Jim Litsheim, said, “Basically every element of the building is deficient. It needs a new roof; it needs new tuckpointing and sealing of the exterior." Though once a beautiful building tied closely with the College’s history, the estimated $6-8 million to update it was simply too much. While the building is gone, some of its materials, such as bricks, will be re-purposed for other projects. The University is also taking advantage of this opportunity to take care of underground utilities and do sidewalk and landscaping maintenance.
Although there are no plans to construct a new building on the site of the Old Veterinary Anatomy Building, the University does say that a future development would likely be part of its long-term planning timeline. While a piece of history was taken down on September 14, its legacy lives on at the College.