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SDSU to celebrate Lincoln Hall reopening

Front of the newly renovated Lincoln Hall at South Dakota State University.
The newly renovated Lincoln Hall is now home to South Dakota State University's College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the School of American and Global Studies.

The South Dakota State University College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the School of American and Global Studies will celebrate the reopening of Lincoln Hall with several events planned on campus Sept. 12 and 13.

The college and school moved into the historic building in July following a highly anticipated renovation process.

“I’ve given dozens of impromptu tours to alumni and students since the building opened in late July, and it has been a joy to witness the pride and awe on their faces as they take in the grandeur of the new space,” said Christi Garst-Santos, director and associate professor in the School of American and Global Studies. “All of us in the school recognize and are grateful for the commitment the university has made to the humanities and social sciences with this extraordinary renovation. It elevates our disciplines and establishes SDSU’s liberal arts as a significant player in the region.”

On Tuesday, Sept. 12, an official ribbon-cutting ceremony will be open to the public at 2:30 p.m. in front of Lincoln Hall. Following the ceremony, tours of the building will take place from 3:30-6 p.m.

On Wednesday, Sept. 13, additional tours will be available from 3-5 p.m. That evening, a public keynote event featuring Laurie Fulton, who attended SDSU and later served as a U.S. ambassador to Denmark from 2009-2013, will take place at 7 p.m. in Woster Celebration Hall. 
Lincoln Hall renovation

Built in 1927, Lincoln Hall was named after President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln played a role in the passage of the Morrill Act, legislation that became the foundation for land-grant universities. Lincoln Hall served as the university’s library until 1979. Then it became the home of SDSU’s music department until 2018, when the department merged with the theatre and dance department to create the School of Performing Arts.

Discussions about the Lincoln Hall renovation began back when the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center was nearing completion in 2017. With the School of Performing Arts moving to The Oscar, the vacancy of Lincoln Hall presented an opportunity for maintenance and repairs. The renovation was further supported by identifying the need for space in the School of American and Global Studies and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

The selection process for an architectural firm to complete the renovations began in August 2017. Ultimately, Koch Hazard Architects was chosen for the work, adding Lincoln Hall to its impressive portfolio of historic building renovations.

Following the selection of the firm, the planning and design process began. Jonathan Meendering, architect and director of campus planning at SDSU, said several stakeholders were integral to making the process run smoothly. “Dean Lynn Sargeant, Christi Garst-Santos and Kristi Tornquist were a pleasure to work with throughout the planning and design process for this project,” Meandering said. “They helped develop a clear space program and vision for the project.”

The project was completed in phases, addressing electrical, plumbing and design upgrades and repairs. 
Design details 

Koch Hazard Architects is an architecture, interior design and planning firm founded in 1961 and located in Sioux Falls. A team of three—a principal, project architect and interior designer—worked simultaneously on different aspects of the project.

Stacey McMahan, principal and director of design operations at Koch Hazard Architects, said the vision for the building was to “restore the historically significant spaces to their original beauty and detail while carefully inserting new elements to modernize the building.”

One of the most exciting and collaborative spaces is the reading room. Originally used as a performance hall, the space has been restored to its original beauty. “The skylights have been opened back up to allow for natural light and the south wall partially removed to provide connection to the rest of the upper floors,” McMahan said. “Two modern pavilions have been added to provide work and presentation spaces while creating additional upper-level study space on each ‘roof.’”

There are intentional design elements to show where new architecture has intertwined with the old.

“We’ve been very intentional to differentiate new spaces from existing historic ones,” project architect Nolan Hazard explained. “In the reading room especially, we have tried carefully to create a harmonious relationship between the two.”

Koch Hazard Architects played a role in fundraising for the project by meeting with donors, writing letters and showcasing the building’s historical value. “This is the type of project we love to be involved with. It is one of our passion projects,” McMahan said.

“Lincoln Hall has been reimagined to meet the needs of students and faculty for many years to come, but it has also been renovated in a way that honors and respects the legacy of the generations of Jackrabbits who studied in Lincoln Library or performed in Lincoln Music Hall. For the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Lincoln Hall is a real game-changer, thanks to its innovative and interactive spaces for teaching and learning,” said Sargeant, dean of the college.

Join the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and School of American and Global Studies on Sept. 12 and 13 for the grand reopening of Lincoln Hall.