Hagg-Sauer Hall: BSU Breaks Ground on First New Building of Second Century

Hagg-Sauer Groundbreaking Ceremony.

Hagg-Sauer Groundbreaking Ceremony.

On a sunny September day, more than 125 Bemidji State University faculty, staff and students, members of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, the Minnesota legislature and the Bemidji community gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Hagg-Sauer Hall. Built in 1970, Hagg-Sauer was retired in April of 2019 and demolition began shortly after with the nearly 50-year-old building set to be replaced with an updated facility in the Fall of 2020.

After a Native American honor song performed by Nathaniel McDonald, a Bemidji State freshman pursuing a degree in accounting, Karen Snorek, vice president of finance and administration, welcomed attendees to the ceremony and thanked key partners for their support on this project.

Jay Cowles, chair of the Minnesota State Board of Trustees, praised BSU’s planning processes and perseverance to see the Hagg-Sauer project through this important phase, with Dr. Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State, echoing his sentiments.

“In the 2000s, the university set out on a thoughtful, deliberate planning process that looked at how to best serve our students and enable them to achieve their fullest potential into the 21st century,” he said. “The result is seen in the replacement of Hagg-Sauer with a smaller, far more flexible facility to house a full array of programs and courses well into the future.”

“This project is much like the Greek mythological creature the phoenix, where rising from the dust of the old facility, will be a new modern facility, reborn to serve students and the region well beyond our time,” Malhotra said. “I believe the renovation of Hagg-Sauer will not only meet our students where they are but more importantly where they need to go.”

Building on the planning processes, President Faith C. Hensrud gave a brief history of Hagg-Sauer and the journey to the groundbreaking celebration – a journey that has taken nearly 15 years. She also focused on the future and what the new building will mean for generations to come.

“As we begin our second century, we recognize how truly special this new building will be as we focus on our students,” Hensrud said. “I can assure you, the new Hagg-Sauer Hall will provide state-of-the-art classroom spaces that will enable students to achieve their educational goals, and will provide new experiences that lead to our student’s success.”

Dr. Derek Webb, professor and chair of mathematics and computer science and president of the BSU Faculty Association, spoke on behalf of Bemidji State faculty members. Webb had an office space in Hagg-Sauer Hall for 17 years before its retirement.

“On behalf of the faculty, I want to express my excitement and appreciation to have a new academic facility that will benefit our students,” Webb said. “Having this new resource will give our university the opportunity to continue our 100-year tradition of putting student learning first, of engaging students in the best possible ways and enabling them to excel.”

Matt Sauser, BSU student body president, also expressed his excitement for the new learning space.

“The new Hagg-Sauer is a sign of things to come,” he said. “Dr. Hagg’s and Dr. Sauer’s legacy continues to set the standard of what to expect here on campus. An environment of friendship, camaraderie and cooperation.”

Participants in the Groundbreaking Ceremony Include:

President Faith C. Hensrud
Chancellor Devinder Malhotra
Trustee Jay Cowles
Dr. Derek Webb
Matthew Sauser
Trustee Jerry Janezich, Minnesota State Board of Trustees
Trustee Roger Moe, Minnesota State Board of Trustees
Tony Peffer, provost and vice president of academic and student affairs
Noah Wendland, BSU student body vice president
John Persell, representative, Minnesota House of Representatives
Justin Eichorn, senator, Minnesota Senate
Kay Mack, Beltrami County Administrator
Tom Brown, owner, Terra Construction
Ann Voda, architect, BTR-Architects
Travis Barnes, director of facilities
David Sauer, son of Dr. Phil Sauer
Bill Maki, interim vice chancellor of finance and facilities for Minnesota State
Josh Christianson, executive director of university advancement



MN State logoBemidji State University, located amid the lakes and forests of northern Minnesota, occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Enrolling more than 5,100 students, Bemidji State offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and eight graduate degrees encompassing arts, sciences and select professional programs. BSU is a member of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities and has a faculty and staff of more than 550. The university’s Shared Fundamental Values include environmental stewardship, civic engagement and international and multicultural understanding. For more, visit bemidjistate.edu or find us at BemidjiState on most of your favorite social media networks.