Construction Update!

Pop Quiz!

What do this image...


...this image…


...and this image have in common?

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They’re all of MOI headquarters: past, present, and future!


To give some context, we want to rewind. Our past center was at 2388 University Ave W in St. Paul. In 2013, we made our home at the corner of University and Raymond. We were excited about having a space that we could call our own, where we could run more programs and serve more students than ever before. This was the same year we rebranded from Rock Star Supply Co. to Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute. With a new name and a new headquarters, we started the next school year with a renewed enthusiasm for our mission.


Fast forward to today! We’re at a similar juncture: we’re preparing for a new space, and a step forward in our work. We’ve been working alongside Seward Redesign and Gensler to brainstorm and design a beautiful youth writing center, complete with our signature underwater decor. Now, as construction begins, we’re happy as clams to see our ideas becoming reality.


Our new center will combine our old space—a wide, open tutoring floor to encourage collaboration and creation; a library stocked with over 1,000 titles for students to enjoy; a seahorse ranch to watch over everything happening in the space—and add on it in ways that will help us better serve our community. We’ll also be incorporating a number of new features—an oceanographic outlet storefront, to display and sell student works and oceanographic thingamabobs alike (we’d like to extend a special thanks to West Monroe Partners for helping us develop our store); a stage and performance area, for students to have a space to share their works with the world; a Publishing Center to create over 50 in-house publications each year—to continue to expand our work. And, of course, we’ll still have sonar equipment to track the creatures and ideas that lurk deep in the ocean.


Right now, it’s still under construction, but we’re making progress! Since construction began in early June, we’ve made waves in our new space. New windows have gone in, to ensure the space is bright and sunny (at least as often as Minnesota allows). We’re working on framing and putting in the walls, which will soon be decorated with student work. Outside, an unused building on the corner has been demolished to make room for a plaza and outdoor space. Next up, we’ll be working on a mural to make our space whimsical and fun from the outside in.


Want to help? Great! Right now, we’re working on meeting a challenge set to us by a longtime friend of MOI: raise $10,000 by August 1st. If you’re able, please go here to donate today. Any amount helps. And keep an eye out—soon, we’ll have a Wish List of supplies to help us prepare the space for the brilliant young authors who will be using it starting in the fall. Can’t donate treasure? Consider donating your time or talent! We’re always looking for talented, caring volunteers.