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The front of Eastcliff

Eastcliff, which serves more than 7,500 guests each year, is being renovated and repaired to deal with structural issues and to create more public meeting areas and gardens.

Public spaces are being added at historic Eastcliff

Published on July 13, 2005

Work is underway to make much-needed repairs to Eastcliff, a University of Minnesota facility that hosts more than 7,500 guests and 150 events each year and where University president Bob Bruininks and his wife share an apartment on the second floor.

The Brooks family donated Eastcliff to the University in 1958. The converted 1922 colonial-style house rests on the east bank of the Mississippi River in St. Paul and is a regular venue for faculty and staff retreats, alumni gatherings, tours for youth groups, receptions for 4-H students, and other events. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

To make way for more public spaces, a retaining wall and tennis court that are causing drainage problems at Eastcliff and neighboring homes are being removed.

The tennis court, now unused and somewhat dilapidated, will be replaced by gardens, seating, meeting areas, and a "literary walk" to celebrate the literary contributions of the University.

The removal of the retaining wall and tennis court is part of an ongoing transformation to make the property more useful and accessible to Minnesotans, says Lyndell King, chair of the Eastcliff Technical Advisory Committee.

"Although it is best-known as the residence for the president of the University, Eastcliff is a piece of Minnesota history and a resource for the entire University community," says King. "This project is an important part of restoring the property and making it more useful to the young people, philanthropic organizations, and members of the University community who visit each year."

More than half of the estimated $396,000 cost of the project is being funded by private contributions. No tuition or tax dollars are being used.