–St. Paul, MN–

The new 3-level Bell Museum, approximately 92,000 sf, is located on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota and will showcase and enhance the State’s reputation for innovative research, education and public engagement focused on Minnesota’s natural environments. The facility will include a 120-seat planetarium, permanent and traveling exhibitions – including relocation of selected historic “Jaques dioramas”, science classrooms, interactive ‘discovery room’ and outdoor exhibit areas to engage the public in environmental science research.


The Planetarium is a two-story concrete cylinder that harbors the 16 meter projection dome. Within the cylinder, there are 120 seats on a raked (15 degree slope) concrete platform. The upper level of the new facility is home to the large permanent exhibit galleries, which include the relocated historic “Jaques dioramas.” The Bell Museum also includes Touch-and-See Room, science classrooms, ticketing, gift shop, café, storage, loading dock, and a large service elevator.


Foundations consist of Cast-In-Place concrete foundation walls and strip footings. Concrete columns at the basement support the composite slab above. Steel columns, beams, composite slab, and joists frame the second level and the roof. Steel trusses frame the two large cantilevered floors.


PAI performed structural engineering design and developed construction plans. PAI also performed shop drawing review and inspections during construction.


Construction Cost:   $48 Million

Construction Period:   June 2016-July 2018