University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

Groundbreaking held for Gorecki Alumni Center

A groundbreaking was held Friday, May 6, at the site for the new Gorecki (pronounced go-RETS-key) Alumni Center on UND campus.

The new 30,000-square-foot building will rise just west of the Chester Fritz Auditorium over the next 16 months. Its stunning façade and location will make it a gateway to UND for alumni, students, their parents and others.

“The Gorecki Alumni Center will be a remarkable front door to the campus,” said Tim O’Keefe, executive vice president and CEO of the UND Alumni Association and UND Foundation. “Our community room will host student, faculty, staff and administration functions as well as be available for the community of Grand Forks. The entire first floor of the three-story building is intended for public use, and there will be space to capture the diverse and fascinating heritage of our great University.”

It was announced at the ceremony today that the building will strive to achieve a LEED Platinum designation, the highest level of energy-efficiency as recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council. This is a remarkable goal; it will be the first project in the state of North Dakota to attempt to meet the rigorous standards of energy-efficiency, sustainability and use of green construction materials and technology. It is also the first alumni center in the country to seek LEED Platinum certification.

“I am thrilled that, thanks to the generous North Dakota Spirit of our alumni, the first LEED Platinum building in the state — and the first LEED Platinum alumni center in the United States — will be here at the University of North Dakota,” said President Robert Kelley. “The Gorecki Alumni Center will be a symbol of UND’s commitment to energy and environmental sustainability, which will mean cost-savings and operational efficiencies for the building over time.”

The original plan for the building was to seek a LEED Silver designation, but with the decision to push for Platinum certification, another $1.5 million was required to meet the additional cost of planning, building and furnishing the building (initially, $10.5 million; now $12 million). That amount has been donated by Glen and Janice Gransberg of Grand Forks, who have a strong interest in environmental awareness and stewardship of our planet’s precious resources. The Gransbergs have also made arrangements for the funding of the Gransberg Family Endowment to enhance the Environmental Studies Program at UND.

“We could not be more please to have the commitment from the Gransbergs to pursue LEED Platinum certification for the Gorecki Alumni Center,” said O’Keefe. “Their passionate interest in teaching students about environmental stewardship means the building will be a showcase for the benefits of green construction and energy-efficiency.”

Those benefits will likely include energy savings of about 30 to 40 percent over traditional buildings, more efficient use of water, cleaner interior air and lower maintenance costs — to name just a few. In addition, the building will act as a symbol of UND’s commitment to sustainability.

The namesakes of the Gorecki Alumni Center are Ben and Dorothy Gorecki of Milaca, Minn., who have already donated $4 million to the project. They are longtime supporters of UND and of other educational, civic and health care-related organizations in central Minnesota.

“Their spirit of philanthropy is most admirable,” says O’Keefe, “and we sincerely thank Ben and Dorothy for their generous support of this magnificent new facility that will bear their name.”

“Extraordinary Places” is one of the goals of North Dakota Spirit, The Campaign for UND, which aims to direct $300 million to UND. The Gorecki Alumni Center is the first “extraordinary place” to be funded under the Spirit campaign. Most of the $12 million has already been secured for the project, and the fundraising effort will continue.

“With the type of support we have seen from alumni for the Gorecki Alumni Center, I am very confident we will reach our $50 million goal for ‘Extraordinary Places’ and our entire $300 million campaign goal as well,” O’Keefe said. “These are certainly exciting times on campus.”

Gorecki Alumni Center details:

  • Cost: $12 million (including approximately $1.5 to pursue LEED Platinum certification)
  • Size: 30,000 square feet in three stories; first floor dedicated to public use, including a 4,000 sq. ft. community room, with office space on the remaining floors
  • Timeline: Work to begin soon with a completion date of fall 2012. Goal is to have a Grand Opening during Homecoming 2012.

For more information on LEED certification, visit the web site .  Artist rendering courtesy of JLG Architects.

For more information, contact Milo Smith, director of Communications and Marketing, at 777-0831 or

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