The estimated $85 million expansion project will include a two-story convention center featuring an artistic wave-wall façade, a Grand Ballroom and 14 breakout rooms, pre-function areas, renovation of the Presentation Hall, an addition to the Rochester Civic Theater and new access to the Rochester Art Center.
"The new space is specifically designed to meet the needs of today's meetings and conventions, and to bring larger events to Rochester," said Brad Jones, director of the Rochester Convention & Visitors Bureau. "We have carefully considered the needs of meeting planners, event attendees, and the Rochester community in developing the new space."
The new Grand Ballroom, at more than 38,000 square feet, will be the second largest in the state, and will have a ceiling height of 32 feet to accommodate the sophisticated production and AV requirements of today's meeting planners. With a banquet capacity of more than 2,000 people, the ballroom will offer double the banquet capacity of the existing Exhibit Hall. The high-end finishes of the space will provide added aesthetic appeal, eliminating the need for the pipe-and-drape decorations that are currently used for events in the Exhibit Hall. The facility will also enhance its free wireless service to enable bandwidth adjustments to meet the needs of various events.
The City of Rochester is focused on making the new space environmentally friendly, and plans call for the facility to exceed the State of Minnesota's B3 Guidelines for sustainable buildings. Green features will include louvers on south-facing windows, upgrades to the HVAC system, continued use of waste-to-energy steam as a heating source, and use of modern LED lighting. The new Mayo Civic Center will also recycle all waste, including unused food and garbage.
Plans are being made for safe storage of two historic features of the existing Mayo Civic Center during the construction process. The MCC staff is working with the Mayo Clinic to restore the bronze statue of Drs. William and Charles Mayo, currently located in the circle in front of the facility. The statue will be reinstalled in the skyway of the new building, at the intersection of 2nd Street and Civic Center Drive, in a museum-quality environment designed by the Mayo Clinic's history department.
Additionally, the MCC staff is working with local clockmaster volunteers to safely dismantle and store the antique clock currently located on Civic Center Drive and 1st Street SE. The clock was originally used at the City's first fire hall located on Broadway and 6th Street SW.