Groundbreaking celebrates start of construction on Memorial Village
Project will be game-changing for UND Athletics
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Dignitaries and supporters of the University of North Dakota celebrated the start of construction on Memorial Village with a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, Aug. 25.
The building, at the site of the former Memorial Stadium grandstand, is a public/private partnership between UND and a private development company, Memorial Village LLC.
“Today’s Memorial Village groundbreaking marks the exciting start of an absolute transformation for UND Athletics facilities – the first step in a series of monumental changes to come,” said UND President Andrew Armacost.
“The proposed Memorial Village, with its planned Athletics Department and coaches’ offices, academic success center for student-athletes and community-gathering spaces – all on the ground floor – and several floors of market-rate apartments above, is like nothing else across the regional collegiate landscape. It’ll be connected by the ‘Hawk Walk,’ along the historic Memorial Stadium north wall, to the Pollard Athletic Center, where our student-athletes work hard every day. As we celebrate the groundbreaking of Memorial Village, I also want to congratulate our private-sector partners for helping us to get to this point. This project is yet another example of UND’s innovative leadership in partnering with private developers and citizens to do amazing things for our campus community and being good stewards of taxpayer investments at the same time.”
Developer Steve Burian pointed out that the partnership goes beyond the University and the development group. The city of Grand Forks, Grand Forks County, and the Grand Forks School Board all provided tax relief packages.
“I don’t know if you all know this, but Grand Forks is a special community across the state and region with a very unique and genuine collaborative spirit,” said Burian to the approximately 200 people who attended the groundbreaking. He then went on to thank all those from government leaders to private partners who made the project possible.
“This is an exciting day,” he concluded.
Memorial Stadium was razed last year due to structural concerns. The stadium played host to UND football games from 1927 to 1999, as well as many collegiate and high school track and field meets and other activities like the Prairie Rose Games and Special Olympics events.
The Memorial Village will occupy the west side of the stadium and will be connected to the Frederick “Fritz” D. Pollard Jr. Athletic Center by an enclosed glass walkway, which will incorporate the stadium’s iconic brick wall that arcs around the north side of the grounds.
The UND Alumni Association & Foundation continues to fundraise for an addition to the Pollard Athletic Center. That project will include locker rooms, weight room facilities and an area for the UND Sports Medicine Department.
“We are very close to completing the fundraising for Phase 2,” said DeAnna Carlson Zink, CEO of the UND Alumni Association & Foundation. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could have another groundbreaking celebration in the spring and can open the Pollard Athletic Center addition at the same time the Memorial Village opens in 2024?”
“This project in coordination with the existing Pollard Center and, ultimately, the addition, will give our coaches state-of-the-art facilities to recruit and retain the top student-athletes for years to come,” said Bill Chaves, UND Athletics Director. “In turn, it will provide those student-athletes the resources necessary to become the best student, the best athlete, and, most importantly, the best community member possible.”
Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski noted that the Memorial Village project had its genesis during the COVID pandemic, when a lot of such projects nationally were being shelved. “To have this partnership just really speaks of Grand Forks. I couldn’t be more grateful to see this project finally going through,” said Bochenski. “Thank you for the continued partnership with the city. It just grows stronger and stronger.”
Construction on the site began this summer. The plan is to have the apartments ready for rent in the spring of 2024 with UND Athletics administrators moving into their office space in July of that year.