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Land lease approved for Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library

WASHBURN, N.D. - Organizers secured land Friday for the proposed Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum at Dickinson State University. Now they just need the money.

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The Dickinson State University rodeo grounds are the site that has been approved for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Dickinson. The state Board of Higher Education unanimously approved a 99-year lease in which the library’s foundation agrees to pay the state $1 a year for the 27.6-acre lot.

WASHBURN, N.D. – Organizers secured land Friday for the proposed Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum at Dickinson State University. Now they just need the money.

The state Board of Higher Education unanimously approved a 99-year lease in which the library’s foundation agrees to pay the state $1 a year for 27.6 acres now occupied by the DSU rodeo grounds, which are being relocated to south of Dickinson.   

Interim foundation CEO Jim Kelley said the library will be “a repository for everything Roosevelt,” the nation’s 26th president who spent several formative years in the North Dakota Badlands.

“This is going to be a wonderful collaboration between the foundation and the academic side of DSU,” he told the board during its meeting at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn.

To get the project started, the state Legislature earmarked $12 million in 2013, while the city of Dickinson has provided $3 million and offered a challenge grant for an additional $5 million, Kelley said.

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The estimated cost of the site work and 55,000- to 60,000-square-foot library is $55 million, plus $15 million for interior exhibits and programming. Kelley said the foundation also hopes to create two $15 million endowments: one for operations and maintenance to make the facility self-sustaining, and the other for development and expansion of DSU’s existing Theodore Roosevelt Center, including an endowed chair.

Board members asked about the state’s potential liability should the donations not materialize. Kelley said the foundation won’t borrow funds for the project.

“We’re not going to build anything unless we have the money,” he said.

DSU President Thomas Mitzel said the university had planned to move the rodeo grounds anyway, and the library will be an asset not only to DSU and the state but “to the entire nation.”

The Dickinson City Commission will consider zoning approval Monday, Kelley said.

 

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