Mayville State to build alumni center
Mayville State University won approvalThursday to revamp a 92-year-old building on campus into an alumni center and foundation office. The unanimous vote by the North Dakota Board of Higher Education clears the way for a $300,000 fund-raising cam...
Mayville State University won approvalThursday to revamp a 92-year-old building on campus into an alumni center and foundation office.
The unanimous vote by the North Dakota Board of Higher Education clears the way for a $300,000 fund-raising campaign, said Jim LeClair, interim director of the MSU Foundation.
The renovated Northwest Hall will house the MSU Alumni Association director's office and the MSU Foundation office, now in a corner office on the second floor of Old Main.
"We're kind of cramped back there, and it certainly would free up a lot of space," LeClair said.
Supporters of the project say the building could become a gathering place for cultural and musical events, a starting point for campus tours and a place to host dignitaries and receptions.
Completed in 1911, Northwest Hall has served as campus hospital, president's residence and, until December 1996, an apartment complex for married students.
In April 1997, a severe ice storm and power outage damaged the heating system, ceiling and floor. Insurance didn't cover the damage, and the building has been vacant since.
The hall is a cornerstone on campus and fits in well with other historic buildings such as Old Main and East and West halls, said Kelly Morrison, president of the Alumni Association.
"We just didn't want to see it fall apart on us," said Morrison, a 1976 MSU graduate who lives in Cavalier, N.D.
Morrison and other alumni interested in restoring the building recently organized into the Friends of Northwest Hall.
The group wants to establish the building as a permanent home for the Levon West collection, a series of 109 etchings by the 1930s artist who spent part of his childhood in Mayville. The collection is now kept in the campus library.
Funds for the project will come from private donations and in-kind contributions. The State Historical Society is in the process of granting $10,000 for the project to match a $10,000 grant received from the Burlington Northern Foundation in the mid-1990s, LeClair said.
The Friends of Northwest Hall have already cleaned the building, Morrison said. Further work on the project, including repairs to the leaky roof, will begin this summer.
Morrison said he hopes to get the community involved in the project as well.
"We want everybody and anybody who's interested in preservation," he said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528