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James J. Hill Center Statement Regarding Current Closure

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Statement from the James J. Hill Center

The James J. Hill Center is currently evaluating all options related to the future of the institution and its historic building in downtown St. Paul. The organization has served the community since opening in 1921 with a gift from the estate of James J. Hill, an early industrialist and community leader in Minnesota.

The James J. Hill Reference Library (DBA The James J. Hill Center) was established as a free general-purpose reference library to serve the residents of Saint Paul. As daily usage and research needs have changed over the decades, the organization has evolved and re-positioned its services in a manner that honors the original intent while remaining relevant to the community. During the 1970’s it became apparent to the Board the cost and space needed to house a general reference library was unrealistic, and such, it refined the focus to business reference services.

Over the past three years the James J. Hill Center has significantly increased its programming and community impact while actively supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Minnesota. As a privately funded nonprofit, our ability to provide these services to the public for free is not sustainable. We continue to be challenged to develop a financial model that can deliver the original intent while being fiscally responsible for the ongoing operating costs of the organization and necessary capital investments in the historic structure.

Considering these challenges, there is a need to evaluate the sustainability of our mission in concert with our building. As such, the Hill’s Board and Executive Director are carefully examining options and having conversations with key leaders who might offer insight and counsel as to the future of the organization.  During this time, the Hill will be closed to the public starting July 3rd. All contracted rental events will be honored through 2019. Please visit jjhill.org for information on remaining programs and services .

The James J. Hill Center is committed to respecting the intent of the original gift and ensuring the Hill legacy continues to meaningfully serve the community and residents of Saint Paul.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1: Why is the James J. Hill Center Closing?

A1: The James J. Hill Center is currently evaluating options related to the future of the institution and its historic building in downtown St. Paul.

Over the past three years, the James J. Hill Center has significantly increased its programming and community impact while actively supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Minnesota. It has been a challenge, however, to develop a financial model that will sustain the ongoing operating costs of the organization and capital investments needed in future years. Considering these challenges, there is a need to evaluate the sustainability of our mission in concert with our building. As such, the Hill’s Board and executive director are carefully examining options and having conversations with key leaders and others who may offer insight and counsel as to the future of the organization.

Q2: I have an event booked in 2019, do I need to be concerned?

A2: All contracted events will be honored through December 2019. If you have questions, please contact the Hill at 651-265-5500.

Q3: Can I still schedule a private event at the James J. Hill Center?

A3: The Hill Center will not be booking additional events.

Q4: Is the building available for tours or drop-in visitors?

A4:  Unfortunately, the Hill will not be open to the public for viewing or tours beginning July 3rd.

Q5: Will the Hill be available for research or database access? 

A5: Database access and research assistance will discontinue as of July 3rd. We encourage our reference visitors to take advantage of the business research resources available at their public library or at local universities or colleges.

Q6: What are the future plans for Co.Starters at the Hill?

A6: The Hill will continue to facilitate Co.Starters with the intent to support more cohorts in the future. The current cohort will be graduating as planned on July 2nd with a public pitch party.

Q7: What are the future plans for Idea Academy and Entrepreneurs in Training?

A7: The Hill Center will deliver all youth programs currently scheduled in 2019 with the hopes of extending them into the future.

Q8: What is happening with the professional development and cultural programs at the Hill?

A8: All professional development and cultural programs will cease as of July 3rd. The programs currently listed on the calendar will continue as planned unless otherwise notified. 

Q9: What is happening to 1 Million Cups Saint Paul?

A9: 1 Million Cups is a program of the Kauffman Foundation. The event is coordinated by a local organizing team. The James J. Hill Center has been honored to have been the host location for 1MC Saint Paul for the past five years. If you are interested in joining the organizing committee visit https://www.1millioncups.com/stpaul along with updates on locations and presenters.

Q10: Who do I contact if I have specific questions during the closure? 

A10: Please call the main phone number at 651-265-5500 and leave a voicemail message. We will be working with a limited staff and will try to respond in a timely manner.

Q11: Are any of the St. Paul Public Libraries affected by the decision to close the James J. Hill Center?

A11:  No.

Q12: When will there be an announcement regarding the future of the James J. Hill Center?

A12: The Hill’s Board and executive director are carefully examining options. The timing of when the decision will be made will be influenced by the level of analysis, input required and discussion by the Board.

Q13: How will staff be impacted?

A13: The Executive Director and one other staff member will remain working to support the Center. The remaining staff members will be provided appropriate notification and considerations as they leave.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

Patrons with accessibility needs please access our ground floor elevator entrance via Kellogg Ave at the back of the building. Please ring the doorbell on the right hand side of door and a Hill staff member will assist you. If you have questions or concerns please call 651.265.5500. We look forward to having you visit.

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