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UMD plans American Indian Center
(Photo: Preferred location for UMD’s proposed American Indian Learning Resource Center. The estimated $9.5 million building would provide a landmark architectural statement at the Kirby Drive entrance to the campus.)
Since the first American Indian graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth in the 1960s, campus administrators have added nearly 20 programs and services to recruit and retain Native American students.
Today, Native Americans are the largest minority group on the campus.
UMD’s College of Liberal Arts established an American Indian Studies department in 1972, initially offering a minor. The program has expanded to two majors and two minors, and by 2005, 125 American Indian and Alaskan Native students were seeking careers in native-centered medicine, education, social work and other fields.
With 28 staff, faculty and professional appointees teaching those on-campus programs and supporting tribal colleges and reservations in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, UMD claims more Indian staff and faculty per capita than any other university in the United States.
Its Mishoomis Library Collection with 3,000 volumes is the second-largest native-specific library in the Upper Midwest and wants more temperature-controlled space to expand that collection to 10,000.
These programs are scattered around the campus, growing and running out of space, said John King, UMD Facilities Management director. “Evergreen State (College in Olympia, WA) and Portland (OR) State University built buildings to grow their (American Indian) programs,” he said. “We’ve built all these programs, and have no building.”
That would change if the 2010 Minnesota Legislature and a benefactor step forward to fund a capstone project to co-locate these Indian Studies programs.
UMD is requesting $6.7 million from the 2010 state bonding bill to build a 19,000 square-foot American Indian Learning Resource Center on the Duluth campus. It would consolidate programs at a single site and support both academic and student service programs. The center would include classrooms, computer labs, conference rooms and a “great room” that would provide gathering space for pow-wows and other native events. King estimated total project costs at $9.5 million.
While a site hasn’t been finalized, UMD has identified its preferred location on the northwest corner of the campus near the Alworth Planetarium. “We have enough room there for one building,” he said.
The location east of College Street between Kirby and University drives, would provide a site line to the Wild Ricing Moon Sculpture and an adjacent storm water retention pond near Swenson Science Building. UMD biologists already are using the pond for wild rice research, King said.
Wild rice is integral to the diet and history of the region’s native people, and the building site would complement that cultural heritage, he said.
The project also would provide a landmark building on Kirby Drive, the only remaining campus entrance without such an architectural statement, he said.
King said UMD already has allocated $650,000 to fund the project through final design. That money financed a pre-design document completed in September 2005 by Duluth-based SJA Architects. UMD has retained Duluth-based DSGW Architects as the project’s architect of record.
DSGW is partnering with Boston-based Anmahian-Winton Architects to design the project. The Duluth firm also has tasked Michael Laverdure, a LEED- (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified designer, to develop early project schematics. The Turtle Mountain (ND) Band of Chippewa enrollee also is the designated liaison and coordinator for the project’s cultural aspects. If funding is approved in the 2010 legislative session, the project would be ready for bid in May or June next year, he said.
Laverdure joined DSGW in early July to lead the design team for its recently formed First American Design Studio.
DSGW is a familiar player in the native community, periodically providing design services to more than a dozen U.S. tribes and bands. Announcing Leverdure’s hiring on July 7, Partner John Scott predicted DSGW’s role with tribal bands developing sustainable communities will grow.
Since opening the studio, DSGW has won several design projects in addition to the UMD center: Spirit Lake Casino addition and renovation, St. Michael, ND; Bad River Health and Wellness Center, Odanah; Lac du Flambeau (WI) Health and Dental Center; and Ohkay Owingah Old Town Development in New Mexico.
Wayne Nelson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Previous Construction Articles:
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