DSU Decides to Keep East Hall View and Green, Build Beacom Hall on Parking Lot

See those trees behind the signs? They get to stay, as DSU builds Beacom Hall across the street. Photo from Charlie Johnson, Facebook, 2015.11.13.
See those trees behind the signs? They get to stay, as DSU builds Beacom Hall across the street. Photo from Charlie Johnson, Facebook, 2015.11.13.

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).”

New proposed site of Beacom Hall. Satellite view from Google Maps.
New proposed site of Beacom Hall. (Satellite view from Google Maps.)

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.


11 Responses to DSU Decides to Keep East Hall View and Green, Build Beacom Hall on Parking Lot

  1. and the 100-car parking lot will go . . . under the building?

  2. Wayne Pauli

    Unpopular? to a few, but we have no way of knowing to what degree the unpopularity is, as the majority were not asked. I find it odd that 35 people would come together to complain about some trees and grass but nobody came forward when Borofsky was in the throes of his reign of terror on personnel. Not until the students stopped him. The victors can say that the trees are more important than the education of the students and their neighbor’s working there. Nice.

  3. Jason Sebern

    This Beacom fella sounds pretty important.

  4. Douglas Wiken

    The parking lot will replace the trees.

  5. Don Coyote

    @Jason: He’s loaded. One of Denny Sanford’s toadies. The business school at USD is named after him. Why do the Regents bother? I’d rather see DSU closed and the classes moved to Brookings.

  6. larry kurtz

    A four-year state-supported university where a community college should be is a symptom of a bloated government: neither conservative nor sustainable.

  7. Wayne! Madisonians fighting for trees but not for people? Uff da!

    John, an underground parking facility might not be a bad idea. Maybe they’ll build one for staff, complete with heated tunnels to Heston!

    Don—consolidation? That’s not the first time we’ve heard that idea. Maybe that’s part of the plan: build Beacom east of Washington Avenue, and the state won’t have to surrender that building back to the Kennedy family when the state closes the school. Same with the hospital north of the main campus donated by Charles B. Kennedy for a normal school back in the 1881.

  8. Charlie Richardson

    There may have only been 35 people at the public meeting held at Madison Public Library, however, I can assure you that this issue involved many more townspeople, alumni, and business owners that were a big part of the drive to keep the historic features of the campus intact. It was a well-publicized meeting, with invitations extended to university administration and faculty along with staff members. Apparently, no one from the university thought it important enough to even show up, let alone make their case for placement of the Beacom building.
    In regard to the comment made by Wayne, the reign of terror by Borofsky took place in behind-closed-door meetings that weren’t made public until after the fact. Don’t insult the people of Madison, and the university’s alumni by accusing us of caring more for trees and grass than we do about personnel.

  9. happy camper

    If this is supposed to be a compromise, it’s just stupid. Lowry Hall is a nothing building that’s gonna come down anyway. Talk about no brainer and as John says, why remove parking from the administration building. Makes no sense!!!

  10. Daniel Buresh

    However unpleasant it sounds, Wayne isn’t wrong. Could be quite a sociology discussion of why that is. The parking that will be hurt is student parking. It is already limited in the area and that just means more will be parking up by the playhouse and side streets. My guess is they plan on making it up with the hospital parking lot, but I’m sure they will allocate some of that to faculty.

  11. Daniel: on parking, I repeat: ride a bike!

    On your opening point, I agree that something is odd that Madisonians will raise heck with new administration about trees and grass and views of a historic building but not raise a similar hue and cry about bad staffing decisions by a president on the ropes. Can we think of instances where the public (not the students, but the town around the gown) has raised heck about staff decisions at DSU/DSC/General Beadle?