UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

September 16, 2004
Susan Beasy Latto, Director, UMD Public Relations 218 726-8830
Joseph Michela, Director, UMD Auxiliary Services 218 726-8746
Neale Roth, Director, UMD Kirby Student Center 218 726-7165
For more information, see or (menus) or (project description).

Colorful New Kirby Plaza Opens at UMD

Modern, Convenient Center of Campus Life

The colorful, new Kirby Plaza is now "open for business" located on Kirby Drive on the UMD campus. The three-story renovated Plaza houses important and expanded services for UMD students, faculty and staff including a large Food Court, UMD Bookstore & Computer Corner, Bulldog Shop, a convenience store, UMD Print Shop, TCF Bank, coffee house, student computer lab, College of Liberal Arts offices, University for Seniors, ten campus organizations, Multi-Cultural Student Union ,and a major Duluth Transit Authority Bus Hub--to name only some. Please see below for complete list. A Childcare Center is slated to open in November.

"Our mission has always been to improve the student experience with social, educational and recreational space," said Neale Roth, Kirby Student Center director. "What we did with the Kirby Plaza renovation, is to bring the center of student life into the 21st century."

The much-awaited Food Court includes a variety of selections such as "Burger Hub," "Daily Special," "Grab N Go," "Sweet Dreams & Sandwiches" and "Taste of Italia." The Center Court Grill (a sit-down restaurant with unique menu) will open soon.

Not only will Kirby Plaza serve as the hub for student life, it will also serve as a major hub for the Duluth Transit Authority (DTA). The main entrance on Kirby Drive was funded by the DTA and designed as a much-needed bus center for UMD.

"The DTA wanted to increase the use of busing by UMD students, and so we offered a proposal to UMD in which we would provide a discounted pass to UMD students to ride the bus, in turn easing some of the traffic and parking pressures," explained Dennis Jensen, DTA General Manager. With UMD and the DTA working together, the program evolved into the U-Pass system where UMD students ride the bus for free. The program has been extremely successful with more than 1,900 UMD students per day riding DTA buses during the school year.

In the modern, spacious Bulldog Shop, UMD students, alumni, and Bulldog fans can find a variety of UMD merchandise in one, easy location. There is convenient, metered parking in front of the Kirby Plaza entrance, and the store is open seven days per week.

The Kirby Plaza project included renovation of 69,000 square feet of the old library, along with new construction of a 19,000 square-foot addition. The old library was vacated in 2000, upon completion of UMD's new $26 million state-of-the-art library.

About the Project:
New Space: 69,000 gross square feet
Renovation Start: October 2002Architect: Krech Ojard & Associates
Construction Manager: Johnson Wilson Constructors

Kirby Plaza has three levels of space, each with its own purpose and design scheme.

First Floor:

  • (Upper Concourse)
  • Northern Shores Coffee House
  • UMD Print Shop
  • Information Technology and Support Services (ITSS) offices
  • Student Computer Lab
  • UMD Parking Services Dept.
  • International Programs office
  • TCF Bank
  • UMD Stores (bookstore and computer corner)

Second Floor

  • (Street Level)
  • UMD Stores (Bulldog Shop and convenience store)
  • Food Court
  • Childcare Center (coming in late fall)
  • (under the UMD College of Education, Early Childhood)
  • Administration offices for UMD Auxiliary Services

Third Floor

  • Temporary home for College of Pharmacy
  • University for Seniors
  • Administration offices for the College of Liberal Arts
  • The Rafters- a completely remodeled space for student recreation activities/programs
  • Multi-Cultural Student Union
  • Offices for several campus organizations

For more information, see or (menus) or (project description).

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