The University of Minnesota has gutted Northrop Auditorium in preparation for a three-year, $84 million renovation.
Built in the late 1920's, Northrop's renovation will combine student study space, academic offices, and a smaller auditorium with better acoustics than the one it's replacing.
U officials said students used the old Northrop for little more than freshman orientation, and then graduation.
"With lots of seminar rooms, collaborative study space, interaction with faculty, it's going to be very much an alive building which it never was before," U of M provost Tom Sullivan said.
Sullivan says the new Northrop will open in about two and a half years. The auditorium will host its first graduation in the spring of 2014.
The project is being paid for with a mix of state dollars, private funds and money borrowed by the university.