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Presidential vision: Early concept renderings of Roosevelt library revealed as foundation board begins fundraising push

Theodore Roosevelt is already larger than life in western North Dakota, so it makes sense a library built to honor his legacy and presidency would take on the same scale.

The rendering created by JLG Architects of Dickinson shows the proposed facade for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library planned for the Dickinson State University campus between State Avenue North and 13th Avenue West. (JLG Architects)
The rendering created by JLG Architects of Dickinson shows the proposed facade for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library planned for the Dickinson State University campus between State Avenue North and 13th Avenue West. (JLG Architects)

Theodore Roosevelt is already larger than life in western North Dakota, so it makes sense a library built to honor his legacy and presidency would take on the same scale. The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation has released renderings of a concept for a Badlands-inspired library center that would completely reshape the terrain of its chosen site on the current location of the Dickinson State University rodeo grounds. Interim library foundation CEO Jim Kelley said the Grand Forks-based firm JLG Architects provided the design that will attempt to bring features of Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch into the heart of Dickinson. "What we started with initially was a concept that would be designed a little bit after some of the national park facilities we have seen in different areas, as well as some of the presidential libraries," Kelley said Wednesday in a presentation to the Dickinson Rotary Club. "But what we wanted to do is really capture a sense of the West, particularly the Badlands in Medora and Dickinson." The design of the library building is intended to evoke that landscape with butte-like structures that would house the working library, exhibit spaces, an auditorium and other features for guests to trace Roosevelt's life from his childhood through his post-presidency years. The stone-encased areas would be divided by a central great hall, which would be built of glass. That middle portion would be backed by the working library and the Theodore Roosevelt Center, which is currently housed at DSU. Rob Remark, JLG's marketing leader for the region, said the library project was a "thrilling and a really fun thing to conceptualize" for his office in Dickinson. Remark said foundation board members wrote in a set of "provocative words and descriptions" to which DSU Theodore Roosevelt Humanities Scholar Clay Jenkinson provided a "beautiful narrative" that he hoped the finished center would convey. An architectural team that included Remark and fellow JLG members Isaac Karley, Eric Johnson and Scott Jordan-Denny-who served as project architect for the library-took in that extensive input before producing their design. Remark said the concept was intended to marry the unique natural features of the region with stately but modern building design. The design team, he said, hoped to "create a progressive building that speaks to his legacy and the landscape that helped define his life." "We wanted the building to continually touch back on landscape and place, but also have that progressive attitude and cutting-edge characteristics-but also be stately and magnificent, so when you're in a great hall, it feels like a great hall," Remark said. One example of the layering of natural and man-made elements, he said, is a point in the concept where visitors would cross over a simulated creek bed to enter the building's great hall and gallery spaces. Kelley said the remolding of the rodeo grounds to fit a specific image of nature would be the first task in the library build-out. A considerable amount of earth would need to be brought into the site to create the varied topography, which would include an all-encompassing earthen berm. Beyond the dirt, the concept features natural grasses and cottonwood tree plantings, as well as a water feature that would be built to resemble a stretch of the Little Missouri River. Though the landscape would be man-made at that point, the first clearly human-built structure would be the most rustic in the complex and would be set away from the main building to overlook the mock river. Kelley said some of the procurement work for a true-to-life reconstruction of Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch cabin has already begun.
He added the foundation would strive for maximum authenticity while resurrecting the homestead, an 1,800-square-foot structure that served as Roosevelt's headquarters on the Elkhorn Ranch north of Medora when he was only 27 years old. "We're going to have folks felling cottonwood trees and hand-hewing them down to 12-by-12-foot logs and use them to build a cabin," he said. A recent meeting of architects and engineers brought together to discuss the historical rebuild drew a man who showed up in full historical costume, Kelley said. The foundation has already secured cottonwoods felled by the North Dakota Department of Corrections, he said, and is working on sourcing additional wood from sites along the Little Missouri River. While it is unlikely the building would be erected on the grounds while the landscaping effort is underway, Kelley said early off-site construction could be a possibility. As of now, the timeline for the ambitious project is still being determined. Kelley said the foundation hoped to be able to deliver a finished product by 2019, but said he could make no promises at this point regarding the completion schedule. He said fundraising for the library complex, which still has a yet-to-be-finalized price tag, remains at an early point. Foundation board chairman Bruce Pitts said the cost of the library center could reach $100 million by the time its design is set. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2492718","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"270","title":"The rendering created by JLG Architects of Dickinson shows the proposed Great Hall in the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Librar","width":"480"}}]] "It will obviously be phased, we don't think in phase one we're going to build a $100 million facility," Pitts said. "We think it'll be two, three or four phases and that's where we'll end up. That seems to be very doable from a fundraising perspective." Foundation board member and North Dakota Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, said he believed the early work that could happen on the site this summer would meet a stipulation set by the state Legislature to open up $12 million in funding allocated to the project in 2013. While a formal recognition of the completed benchmark has not yet been made, Wardner said the foundation would provide a status report sometime in the third quarter of this year to the budget section. "They've been watching," he said. "The ones who are interested have kept an eye and, in informal talks, they're happy with what we're doing."Theodore Roosevelt is already larger than life in western North Dakota, so it makes sense a library built to honor his legacy and presidency would take on the same scale. The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation has released renderings of a concept for a Badlands-inspired library center that would completely reshape the terrain of its chosen site on the current location of the Dickinson State University rodeo grounds. Interim library foundation CEO Jim Kelley said the Grand Forks-based firm JLG Architects provided the design that will attempt to bring features of Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch into the heart of Dickinson. "What we started with initially was a concept that would be designed a little bit after some of the national park facilities we have seen in different areas, as well as some of the presidential libraries," Kelley said Wednesday in a presentation to the Dickinson Rotary Club. "But what we wanted to do is really capture a sense of the West, particularly the Badlands in Medora and Dickinson." The design of the library building is intended to evoke that landscape with butte-like structures that would house the working library, exhibit spaces, an auditorium and other features for guests to trace Roosevelt's life from his childhood through his post-presidency years. The stone-encased areas would be divided by a central great hall, which would be built of glass. That middle portion would be backed by the working library and the Theodore Roosevelt Center, which is currently housed at DSU. Rob Remark, JLG's marketing leader for the region, said the library project was a "thrilling and a really fun thing to conceptualize" for his office in Dickinson. Remark said foundation board members wrote in a set of "provocative words and descriptions" to which DSU Theodore Roosevelt Humanities Scholar Clay Jenkinson provided a "beautiful narrative" that he hoped the finished center would convey. An architectural team that included Remark and fellow JLG members Isaac Karley, Eric Johnson and Scott Jordan-Denny-who served as project architect for the library-took in that extensive input before producing their design. Remark said the concept was intended to marry the unique natural features of the region with stately but modern building design. The design team, he said, hoped to "create a progressive building that speaks to his legacy and the landscape that helped define his life." "We wanted the building to continually touch back on landscape and place, but also have that progressive attitude and cutting-edge characteristics-but also be stately and magnificent, so when you're in a great hall, it feels like a great hall," Remark said. One example of the layering of natural and man-made elements, he said, is a point in the concept where visitors would cross over a simulated creek bed to enter the building's great hall and gallery spaces. Kelley said the remolding of the rodeo grounds to fit a specific image of nature would be the first task in the library build-out. A considerable amount of earth would need to be brought into the site to create the varied topography, which would include an all-encompassing earthen berm. Beyond the dirt, the concept features natural grasses and cottonwood tree plantings, as well as a water feature that would be built to resemble a stretch of the Little Missouri River. Though the landscape would be man-made at that point, the first clearly human-built structure would be the most rustic in the complex and would be set away from the main building to overlook the mock river. Kelley said some of the procurement work for a true-to-life reconstruction of Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch cabin has already begun. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2492717","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"339","title":"An archive photo of the Elkhorn Ranch in Dakota Territory circa 1884, with antlers outside Theodore Roosevelt's ranch home in th","width":"480"}}]] He added the foundation would strive for maximum authenticity while resurrecting the homestead, an 1,800-square-foot structure that served as Roosevelt's headquarters on the Elkhorn Ranch north of Medora when he was only 27 years old. "We're going to have folks felling cottonwood trees and hand-hewing them down to 12-by-12-foot logs and use them to build a cabin," he said. A recent meeting of architects and engineers brought together to discuss the historical rebuild drew a man who showed up in full historical costume, Kelley said. The foundation has already secured cottonwoods felled by the North Dakota Department of Corrections, he said, and is working on sourcing additional wood from sites along the Little Missouri River. While it is unlikely the building would be erected on the grounds while the landscaping effort is underway, Kelley said early off-site construction could be a possibility. As of now, the timeline for the ambitious project is still being determined. Kelley said the foundation hoped to be able to deliver a finished product by 2019, but said he could make no promises at this point regarding the completion schedule. He said fundraising for the library complex, which still has a yet-to-be-finalized price tag, remains at an early point. Foundation board chairman Bruce Pitts said the cost of the library center could reach $100 million by the time its design is set.
"It will obviously be phased, we don't think in phase one we're going to build a $100 million facility," Pitts said. "We think it'll be two, three or four phases and that's where we'll end up. That seems to be very doable from a fundraising perspective." Foundation board member and North Dakota Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, said he believed the early work that could happen on the site this summer would meet a stipulation set by the state Legislature to open up $12 million in funding allocated to the project in 2013. While a formal recognition of the completed benchmark has not yet been made, Wardner said the foundation would provide a status report sometime in the third quarter of this year to the budget section. "They've been watching," he said. "The ones who are interested have kept an eye and, in informal talks, they're happy with what we're doing."Theodore Roosevelt is already larger than life in western North Dakota, so it makes sense a library built to honor his legacy and presidency would take on the same scale.The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation has released renderings of a concept for a Badlands-inspired library center that would completely reshape the terrain of its chosen site on the current location of the Dickinson State University rodeo grounds.Interim library foundation CEO Jim Kelley said the Grand Forks-based firm JLG Architects provided the design that will attempt to bring features of Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch into the heart of Dickinson."What we started with initially was a concept that would be designed a little bit after some of the national park facilities we have seen in different areas, as well as some of the presidential libraries," Kelley said Wednesday in a presentation to the Dickinson Rotary Club. "But what we wanted to do is really capture a sense of the West, particularly the Badlands in Medora and Dickinson."The design of the library building is intended to evoke that landscape with butte-like structures that would house the working library, exhibit spaces, an auditorium and other features for guests to trace Roosevelt's life from his childhood through his post-presidency years.The stone-encased areas would be divided by a central great hall, which would be built of glass. That middle portion would be backed by the working library and the Theodore Roosevelt Center, which is currently housed at DSU.Rob Remark, JLG's marketing leader for the region, said the library project was a "thrilling and a really fun thing to conceptualize" for his office in Dickinson.Remark said foundation board members wrote in a set of "provocative words and descriptions" to which DSU Theodore Roosevelt Humanities Scholar Clay Jenkinson provided a "beautiful narrative" that he hoped the finished center would convey.An architectural team that included Remark and fellow JLG members Isaac Karley, Eric Johnson and Scott Jordan-Denny-who served as project architect for the library-took in that extensive input before producing their design.Remark said the concept was intended to marry the unique natural features of the region with stately but modern building design. The design team, he said, hoped to "create a progressive building that speaks to his legacy and the landscape that helped define his life.""We wanted the building to continually touch back on landscape and place, but also have that progressive attitude and cutting-edge characteristics-but also be stately and magnificent, so when you're in a great hall, it feels like a great hall," Remark said.One example of the layering of natural and man-made elements, he said, is a point in the concept where visitors would cross over a simulated creek bed to enter the building's great hall and gallery spaces.Kelley said the remolding of the rodeo grounds to fit a specific image of nature would be the first task in the library build-out. A considerable amount of earth would need to be brought into the site to create the varied topography, which would include an all-encompassing earthen berm. Beyond the dirt, the concept features natural grasses and cottonwood tree plantings, as well as a water feature that would be built to resemble a stretch of the Little Missouri River.Though the landscape would be man-made at that point, the first clearly human-built structure would be the most rustic in the complex and would be set away from the main building to overlook the mock river.Kelley said some of the procurement work for a true-to-life reconstruction of Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch cabin has already begun.
He added the foundation would strive for maximum authenticity while resurrecting the homestead, an 1,800-square-foot structure that served as Roosevelt's headquarters on the Elkhorn Ranch north of Medora when he was only 27 years old."We're going to have folks felling cottonwood trees and hand-hewing them down to 12-by-12-foot logs and use them to build a cabin," he said.A recent meeting of architects and engineers brought together to discuss the historical rebuild drew a man who showed up in full historical costume, Kelley said.The foundation has already secured cottonwoods felled by the North Dakota Department of Corrections, he said, and is working on sourcing additional wood from sites along the Little Missouri River.While it is unlikely the building would be erected on the grounds while the landscaping effort is underway, Kelley said early off-site construction could be a possibility.As of now, the timeline for the ambitious project is still being determined.Kelley said the foundation hoped to be able to deliver a finished product by 2019, but said he could make no promises at this point regarding the completion schedule.He said fundraising for the library complex, which still has a yet-to-be-finalized price tag, remains at an early point.Foundation board chairman Bruce Pitts said the cost of the library center could reach $100 million by the time its design is set.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2492718","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"270","title":"The rendering created by JLG Architects of Dickinson shows the proposed Great Hall in the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Librar","width":"480"}}]]"It will obviously be phased, we don't think in phase one we're going to build a $100 million facility," Pitts said. "We think it'll be two, three or four phases and that's where we'll end up. That seems to be very doable from a fundraising perspective."Foundation board member and North Dakota Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, said he believed the early work that could happen on the site this summer would meet a stipulation set by the state Legislature to open up $12 million in funding allocated to the project in 2013.While a formal recognition of the completed benchmark has not yet been made, Wardner said the foundation would provide a status report sometime in the third quarter of this year to the budget section."They've been watching," he said. "The ones who are interested have kept an eye and, in informal talks, they're happy with what we're doing."Theodore Roosevelt is already larger than life in western North Dakota, so it makes sense a library built to honor his legacy and presidency would take on the same scale.The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation has released renderings of a concept for a Badlands-inspired library center that would completely reshape the terrain of its chosen site on the current location of the Dickinson State University rodeo grounds.Interim library foundation CEO Jim Kelley said the Grand Forks-based firm JLG Architects provided the design that will attempt to bring features of Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch into the heart of Dickinson."What we started with initially was a concept that would be designed a little bit after some of the national park facilities we have seen in different areas, as well as some of the presidential libraries," Kelley said Wednesday in a presentation to the Dickinson Rotary Club. "But what we wanted to do is really capture a sense of the West, particularly the Badlands in Medora and Dickinson."The design of the library building is intended to evoke that landscape with butte-like structures that would house the working library, exhibit spaces, an auditorium and other features for guests to trace Roosevelt's life from his childhood through his post-presidency years.The stone-encased areas would be divided by a central great hall, which would be built of glass. That middle portion would be backed by the working library and the Theodore Roosevelt Center, which is currently housed at DSU.Rob Remark, JLG's marketing leader for the region, said the library project was a "thrilling and a really fun thing to conceptualize" for his office in Dickinson.Remark said foundation board members wrote in a set of "provocative words and descriptions" to which DSU Theodore Roosevelt Humanities Scholar Clay Jenkinson provided a "beautiful narrative" that he hoped the finished center would convey.An architectural team that included Remark and fellow JLG members Isaac Karley, Eric Johnson and Scott Jordan-Denny-who served as project architect for the library-took in that extensive input before producing their design.Remark said the concept was intended to marry the unique natural features of the region with stately but modern building design. The design team, he said, hoped to "create a progressive building that speaks to his legacy and the landscape that helped define his life.""We wanted the building to continually touch back on landscape and place, but also have that progressive attitude and cutting-edge characteristics-but also be stately and magnificent, so when you're in a great hall, it feels like a great hall," Remark said.One example of the layering of natural and man-made elements, he said, is a point in the concept where visitors would cross over a simulated creek bed to enter the building's great hall and gallery spaces.Kelley said the remolding of the rodeo grounds to fit a specific image of nature would be the first task in the library build-out. A considerable amount of earth would need to be brought into the site to create the varied topography, which would include an all-encompassing earthen berm. Beyond the dirt, the concept features natural grasses and cottonwood tree plantings, as well as a water feature that would be built to resemble a stretch of the Little Missouri River.Though the landscape would be man-made at that point, the first clearly human-built structure would be the most rustic in the complex and would be set away from the main building to overlook the mock river.Kelley said some of the procurement work for a true-to-life reconstruction of Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch cabin has already begun.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2492717","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"339","title":"An archive photo of the Elkhorn Ranch in Dakota Territory circa 1884, with antlers outside Theodore Roosevelt's ranch home in th","width":"480"}}]]He added the foundation would strive for maximum authenticity while resurrecting the homestead, an 1,800-square-foot structure that served as Roosevelt's headquarters on the Elkhorn Ranch north of Medora when he was only 27 years old."We're going to have folks felling cottonwood trees and hand-hewing them down to 12-by-12-foot logs and use them to build a cabin," he said.A recent meeting of architects and engineers brought together to discuss the historical rebuild drew a man who showed up in full historical costume, Kelley said.The foundation has already secured cottonwoods felled by the North Dakota Department of Corrections, he said, and is working on sourcing additional wood from sites along the Little Missouri River.While it is unlikely the building would be erected on the grounds while the landscaping effort is underway, Kelley said early off-site construction could be a possibility.As of now, the timeline for the ambitious project is still being determined.Kelley said the foundation hoped to be able to deliver a finished product by 2019, but said he could make no promises at this point regarding the completion schedule.He said fundraising for the library complex, which still has a yet-to-be-finalized price tag, remains at an early point.Foundation board chairman Bruce Pitts said the cost of the library center could reach $100 million by the time its design is set.
"It will obviously be phased, we don't think in phase one we're going to build a $100 million facility," Pitts said. "We think it'll be two, three or four phases and that's where we'll end up. That seems to be very doable from a fundraising perspective."Foundation board member and North Dakota Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, said he believed the early work that could happen on the site this summer would meet a stipulation set by the state Legislature to open up $12 million in funding allocated to the project in 2013.While a formal recognition of the completed benchmark has not yet been made, Wardner said the foundation would provide a status report sometime in the third quarter of this year to the budget section."They've been watching," he said. "The ones who are interested have kept an eye and, in informal talks, they're happy with what we're doing."

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