Probable demonstration projects on the South Dakota campus

Two of the oldest buildings on the Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) campus in Mitchell, South Dakota, may soon be dismantled to make way for additional green space on campus.

According to an article on the website of the Mitchell Republic newspaper, based in this city, the Mitchell City Council has approved the university’s plans to demolish Hughes Hall, built in 1912, and Prather Hall, built in 1906.

“Years of aging have drastically deteriorated the historic buildings,” the newspaper writes, adding that they have been largely unoccupied since last year. Restoring the buildings would have involved “multi-million dollar renovation projects”, according to DWU representatives.

The Mitchell City Council unanimously approved the university’s demolition plans at a meeting in June, although the Republic reports that some members did so while expressing regret.

Prather Hall was also known informally as Music Hall, with council member Susan Tjarks saying her children played the piano there. “These are beautiful buildings, but I understand that’s what you need to do as a sign of progress,” Tjarks reportedly said.

After being built in 1906, Prather Hall first served as the residence of the college’s president, according to the Republic. Hughes Hall, meanwhile, “housed a variety of classes,” according to the article.

“A timeline for the start of the demolition process has not yet been determined, pending the completion of an investigation of the two properties by the National Parks Service’s American Historic Buildings,” writes the Republic.

The newspaper names Louie Schoenfelder, DWU Physical Plant Manager, as a member of the university staff who will oversee some of the coordination prior to demolition.

A DWU vice-president reportedly said that items and material worth recovering would also be identified, commenting: “We will recover as much material as possible. They will use it. »