University of Minnesota, Morris
Campus Resources and Planning, Committee

November 13, 2002

 
 
Members Present:     Jim VanAlstine (chair), Ken Crandall, Amy Ackerman, Jeff Xiong Jackie Thorvaldson, Andy Lopez, Maddy Maxeiner,
                                     Lowell Rasmussen, Ferolyn Angell, Shaun Hainey, Ken Hodgson

Absent:                       Dennis Templeman, Clare Strand

Guests:                        Sue Granger, Dennis Gimmestad, Sam Schuman, John F. Schwaller
 

(In these minutes: discussion of Historic District Designation for the mall area, discussion with Scott Hagg)

 
Minutes of October 24, 2002 approved on a motion by Angell, second by Crandall.

Historic District Designation

Sue Granger & Dennis Gimmestad presented a slide show presentation with the following information:

The West Central School of Agriculture and Experiment Station Historic District has been proposed for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. The nomination has been submitted to the University Board of Regents for its review and comments.

The nomination is currently under staff review at the Minnesota Historical Society pending Board approval and then Director's approval. If the State Review Board determines that the property meets the criteria for the National Register, the nomination will be forwarded to the State Historic Preservation Officer, and then to the Keeper of the National Register in Washington for federal review.

The historic district is comprised of the historic buildings of the West Central School of Agriculture (WCSA) and Experiment Station, a boarding high school and research facility that opened in1910. The historic district encompasses about 42 acres, all of which are located on the UMM campus.

The WCSA and Experiment Station was established in 1910 on the former campus and farm of the Morris Industrial School for Indians, a federal boarding school that had recently closed. When it was given to the State of Minnesota in1909, the School for Indians consisted of a large farm with several agricultural structures and about seven major non-farm buildings.

One year after the WCSA and Experiment station opened, a master plan for the new campus was developed by Morell and Nichols, a prominent Minneapolis landscape architecture firm. The WCSA is one of the first of many campuses that the firm eventually designed. The Morell and Nichols plan envisioned a formal, symmetrical arrangement of roads, buildings, open spaces, and plantings. The 1911 master plan depicted trees and shrubs that would formalize the landscape, delineate campus boundaries, delineate open spaces, and provide shelter and shade. Important features included evenly-spaced boulevard trees and windbreaks to shelter the campus. Today the historic district retains some plantings that date from the implementation of the 1911 plan and also retains some trees, shrubs, and flowers that were planted by the staff of the School of Agriculture and Experiment Station as experimental and demonstration plantings. Most of the contributing buildings in the historic district were designed by Clarence H. Johnston, Sr., and built between 1911 and 1926. Johnston, a prominent Minnesota architect, was serving a 30-year tenure as State Architect when the WCSA buildings were constructed. Some of Johnston's WCSA buildings are somewhat similar to buildings he designed on other University of Minnesota campuses.

Music Hall (formerly the School for Indian Boys' Dormitory) is the only building that remains from the 22 years that the campus was used as an industrial school for Native Americans. It was built in1899 by the federal government shortly after the government assumed operation of the school in1897. It was used by the federal school as a dormitory until that institution closed in 1909. After the campus became UMM, the name Music Hall was retained. It served as UMM's principal arts building until 1973 when the new Humanities Fine Arts building was completed. Today the building houses the Minority Student Program, student newspaper offices, and classrooms. The building was listed on the National Register in 1984 for its association with Native American education.

Update from Scott Hagg

Hagg reported that at this point we are behind in applications. Currently we have 286 applications, at this time last year we had 330 applications. He added we are looking better, but we have a long way to go. VanAlstine asked what we could do to target larger populations, perhaps coordinating with the Twin Cities campus. Hagg reported that the Twin Cities campus is our main competitor and that there is very little cooperation between the offices. Lopez asked what we could do to help. Hagg said one of the frustrating things that happen is that students will ask to talk to faculty at the last minute. Sometimes faculty are available and sometimes they aren't. He asked for patience and understanding and he thanked Lopez for always being one of the first to volunteer for whatever is needed. Hagg added that they will be taking a closer look at the students eligible for the Presidential Scholarship. VanAlstine thanked Hagg for the information and asked him to come back in the spring semester.

Adjourned at 2:05 p.m.