The City of St. Paul and SRF Consulting Inc. of Plymouth, Minn., have prepared an Environmental Assessment Worksheet on the proposed Anderson Student Center and the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex at St. Thomas.

The EAW, a mandatory review, was published Monday and can be viewed online at http://wsnac.net. Print copies can be viewed at the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center on the St. Paul campus and at the Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marshall Ave.

Public comments on the EAW will be accepted until Jan. 13 and should be sent to Josh Williams, City of St. Paul, 1100 City Hall Annex, 25 W. Fourth St., St. Paul, MN 55102, or josh.williams@ci.stpaul.mn.us. The city will hold a public meeting to review the EAW and receive comments at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5, in John B. Davis Hall in the Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center at Macalester College. The meeting will be preceded at 6 p.m. by an informal open house.

After the public comment period closes Jan. 13, the city and SRF will review comments and prepare responses. The city’s planning and economic development director will determine by the end of February if the EAW adequately addresses issues or if an Environmental Impact Statement, a more-rigorous review, is necessary.

The purpose of the EAW is to examine the potential environmental impacts of a project and suggest measures to lessen those impacts. Topics include land use, water quality, air quality, noise, vehicular traffic, pedestrian traffic and the impact on the West Summit Avenue Historic District.

The city required the EAW for the student center because a portion of it will be in the historic district. The city also required an EAW for the athletic and recreation complex but agreed to combine that review with the student center review.

If the city determines the EAW adequately addresses issues, St. Thomas and Opus, the architect and contractor for both projects, can proceed on three fronts in March:

  • They would obtain permits to demolish O’Shaughnessy Hall in order to complete construction on the athletic and recreation complex. The facility is scheduled to open in August.
  • The St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission would review the student center’s design because of its location in the historic district and would hold a public hearing. St. Thomas and Opus made two “pre-application” presentations to the HPC in November.
  • The St. Paul Planning Commission would hold a public hearing on the site plan review conducted by the city Department of Safety and Inspections. The review will examine a wide variety of issues related to codes, fire safety, utilities, water and sewer use and landscaping.

St. Thomas continues to work closely with the West Summit Neighborhood Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from the university and four community organizations. WSNAC has met five times with St. Thomas, Opus, SRF and city officials on EAW issues since August.

Questions about the EAW or city reviews can be directed to Doug Hennes, University Relations, (651) 962-6402.