Project Overview

“Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) was bequeathed the historic Wells Center in 1996. While always grateful for gifts, MCTC was not well-positioned to manage this historic asset. Preservation Design Works (PVN), led by Meghan Elliott, first designed an affordable maintenance plan. Then, far beyond her paid scope, Meghan enlisted Project for Pride in Living (PPL) in a State Legacy Grant application last spring. It was an ingenious strategy and a great way forward for this building. When nothing looks promising for a challenging historic property, I recommend turning to PVN.”
— Mike Christenson, Vice President at Minneapolis Community and Technical College

The Wells Family Center, listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and a designated Minneapolis landmark, is an iconic Richardsonian Romanesque building on the Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) campus. MCTC received the Wells Family Center in 1996, but was not well-positioned to manage the building.

In 2013 MCTC retained PVN to help them reactivate this locally and nationally designated building. PVN’s first phase of work included updating previous condition assessments to reflect current conditions, compiling current operational costs, and developing cost estimates for immediate masonry and roof stabilization – which ultimately led to the development of an actionable plan for increasing the use of the building. For the second phase of work, a partnership with PPL (a non-profit provider of education and job training services) was explored to spur rehabilitation of the building for reuse as a high school education facility. PVN successfully obtained a Legacy Grant to fund the schematic design, which was led by LHB, Inc.

The reactivation of the Wells Family Center highlights PVN’s cross-disciplinary services that efficiently and effectively increase the viability of a building with heritage value. When faced with an aging building, developing an actionable plan and utilizing available financial tools can increase the longevity of a historic asset. Because many preservation financial incentives are closely related to decisions about design and construction, we evaluate and integrate preservation-specific incentives with project design and planning. PVN provides comprehensive historic preservation planning and strategy to develop solutions to challenging historic sites.