“This is a pivotal moment for the American Swedish Institute, and we want to thank our many donors for their generosity,” said Bruce Karstadt, American Swedish Institute president and chief executive officer. “The Nelson Cultural Center, along with renovation and landscaping plans, has been thoroughly designed to support our mission and keep pace with our growing programs and audiences, especially with other Nordic community partners."
The organization also announced plans to renovate and improve accessibility to the mansion, and landscape the campus grounds. To date, the American Swedish Institute has received $11 million in gifts and pledges toward a fundraising goal of $21.5 million for these projects, the final phase of the Linking Generations, Linking Communities capital campaign.
Named after benefactors Carl and Leslie Nelson, construction of the 34,000-square-foot addition is scheduled to begin in early 2011 and be completed in mid-2012.

Primary features of the Cultural Center include:
• Glass-enclosed reception lobby
• Museum shop and cafe
• Art gallery for traveling and locally originated exhibitions
• Large studio and crafts workshop
• Space for offices, including partner organizations
• Storage area for collections
• Flexible event space seating 325 for a lecture or concert, 200 for dinner.

Several features reflect traditional Swedish aesthetics and focus on the environment. A courtyard between the Nelson Cultural Center and the mansion is reminiscent of rural and urban courtyards in Sweden. A 7,000-square-foot sloping green roof, typical of traditional Swedish structures, will reduce energy cost and rain run-off. Other environmentally sustainable features are a geothermal heating system to tap heat from the earth and an underground storage system to capture rain water for irrigation.
“Drawing inspiration from Swedish architecture and landscapes, and working with Swedish designers has been an exciting aspect of this project,” said E. Tim Carl, AIA, lead architect and vice president at HGA Architects and Engineers. “Our team carefully selected materials, such as various woods, glass and blue-stone pavers, for their sustainable qualities and low maintenance. We also identified perennials and trees, including birch, which thrive in both Minnesota and Sweden. Nordic respect for the environment has been top of mind, and we designed the building to achieve LEED Gold certification.”
The campus expansion project will also accommodate offices of the Minneapolis Honorary Swedish Consulate General and Swedish Council of America. St Peter based Gustavus Adolphus College has made a long-term commitment to establish a Twin Cities office in the Nelson Cultural Center. According to Jack R. Ohle, president of Gustavus Adolphus College. “With this partnership, the college and the institute are excited to build on a long-standing relationship based upon common Swedish heritage and mutual passion for excellence, education and service.”

For more info on the American Swedish Institute see www.americanswedishinst.org / Gustavus Adolphus College: http://gustavus.edu