South Dakota?s first architectural program is now offered at SDSU

Hannah Baker

Hannah BakerNews Editor

After two years of planning and hard work it is finally official: SDSU now has the first architecture program in the state of South Dakota.

“Before, students wishing to pursue architecture had to look elsewhere,” Jerry Jorgensen, dean of the college of arts and sciences, said. “Now we have a quality program available here at SDSU, so our chances of keeping our architects here is much higher than sending them off somewhere else and hoping they come back.”

The program received the green light of approval in the summer of 2009. With the arrival of Brian T. Rex, the new associate dean of architecture, Jorgensen said the program is now in full swing.

Rex, who previously taught at the University of Colorado, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Nebraska and Texas Tech University, said the new program’s main focus is about keeping young architects in South Dakota.

“We want this program to be about South Dakota,” Rex said. “Our hope is that students will then decide to stay here and take over current positions for the architects who may want to retire in the area. If we can get students to want to stay here at home it is going to be great.”

Jorgensen said the new program correlates well with existing programs already available at SDSU.

“We already have outstanding programs in interior and graphic design, engineering, construction management and landscape architecture, so this new program will be a great companion to all of those fields,” Jorgensen said.

Approximately 52 students enrolled in the prerequisite courses for architecture

this fall. Half of those students could be admitted into the architectural program in 2011. Those students could then be on the road to earning the bachelor’s degree in the spring of 2014. Half of those students could enter the master’s degree class beginning fall, 2014 and graduate spring, 2016.

Rex said the program is attracting a wide variety of students.

“Not all of the students enrolled are first year freshmen. We have had students from other majors switch from pharmacy to engineering to join our new program,” Rex said.

Jonathan Egge is one of those students. A senior from Yankton, he transferred to SDSU from USD after hearing about the new architecture program.

“I’ve been waiting two or three years for the program to start so that’s why I transferred here and switched my major to architecture,” Egge said. “So far I’m liking all the classes, and Brian Rex seems like a really great guy.”

Despite numerous program cuts and tight budgeting at SDSU, the program is a reality due to private funds totaling $1.8 million given by four companies and one individual including: the Architecture Incorporated of Sioux Falls, Koch Hazard Architects of

Sioux Falls, Perspectives, Inc. of Sioux Falls, TSP of Sioux Falls and SDSU alumnus Jerry Lohr. Other needed funds will come from student fees from those students who are in the program.

Jorgensen and Rex are both pleased by all the support the program has received thus far.

“It’s amazing how much money architects and alumni in the area have given to implement this program,” Jorgensen said.

#1.1573059:3892442009.jpg:Faculty and supporters of the new architecture program at fall semester kickoff.:Faculty and supporters of the new architecture program at fall semester kickoff.:PHOTO BY RYAN ROBINSON#1.1573060:986029848.jpg:The new class for the architecture program at the fall semester kick-off.:The new class for the architecture program at the fall semester kick-off.:PHOTO BY RYAN ROBINSON