Opus’ Institutional Experts Support Growing Demand for Student Living at the University of St. Thomas

Supporting a growing demand for student housing, Opus was chosen to design and construct the Tommie North Residence Hall at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. A testament to Opus' long-standing, 30-year history with the college, the building provides opportunities to live on campus for all first-year students with residency requirements.

The five-story, 210,000-square-foot residence hall is located on the north end of campus (the north quad) at the intersection of Selby and Cleveland avenues. It provides housing for 480 students in approximately 255 primarily double occupancy rooms with several single occupancy options. Rooms are located on levels two through five with secured access. Each residence level also has study rooms, lounges and common spaces for use by all residents. A large laundry room is on the second level.  

The first level features amenities open to the entire campus community, including:

  • kitchen and cafeteria featuring cooking on display
  • dining area for 480 students with partitions that open to flex spaces for larger events
  • two classrooms
  • a clubroom and game room
There are also two apartments for resident directors or faculty. 

The building has one level of below-grade parking for 116 vehicles and racks for 173 bicycles. 

The hall shares a below-grade wall with the university's Iversen Center of Faith, an Opus expansion project at the historic Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas. A pedestrian tunnel connects the hall to Ireland Hall, the Chapel and Iversen Center for Faith. It will eventually connect to the second year residence hall on the south side of the Chapel, ultimately strengthening the first and second year student community. 

In addition to building the Tommie North Hall, Opus completed improvements on the adjacent Ireland Hall, which is also used for first-year students and features a classroom and multiple study rooms and lounges. Improvements included:

  • modernizing every dorm room, corridor and restroom
  • modernizing the lower level community spaces
  • building a two-bedroom apartment for the hall director
  • replacing a stack of dorms with an elevator that runs from the newly-built underground corridors to the top level
Exterior improvements included replacing every single window, adding one exterior single-use staircase for the new apartment and one new ADA egress door near the elevator. 

Working on a tight schedule, Opus completed the Tommie North in the summer of 2020.