In a small victory for public input, historic character, and grass, Dakota State University President José-Marie Griffiths announced yesterday that it will build the Beacom IT building on the parking lot south of Heston Hall, on the east side of Washington Avenue. This decision reverses the unpopular plan set in June by then-interim DSU prez Marysz Rames to satisfy Big Usury donor and alum Miles Beacom’s edifice complex with a big glass box on the green blocking the view of historic East Hall on the west side of the street.
Tear up concrete instead of trees and grass—heck of an idea!
The decision pleases Madison residents like Charlie Johnson, who was among the leaders of popular opposition to the tree-wrecking, East-Hall-blocking location. The decision should please the State Historical Preservation Office, which advised in August that building Beacom on the green would “damage the Madison Historic District.” DSU should be pleased, since moving east across the street means they don’t have to monkey with the SHPO rules on damaging historic districts. Plus, DSU still gets to promote the notion of Washington Avenue as the grand entrance to campus, framed with, in Dr. Griffith’s words, “DSU’s legacy on the left (East Hall) and its future on the right (the Beacom building).”
East Hall denizens, you may decide whether to take umbrage at being relegated to non-future status. Maybe you can open a PET museum. And now, you can be sure you’ll get to hold your opening reception in a lovely green space right outside.