$450,000 renovations begin on Woodbine Cottage

University Relations

University Relations

Major renovations to Woodbine Cottage, home to every president of South Dakota State University since 1903, began Sept. 7 and should be complete by this Thanksgiving.

At a projected cost of $450,000, Clark Drew Construction Company of Brookings earned the bid for a complete external renovation of the Queen Anne-style home that was built in 1887.

Dollars to support the project will come from student tuition and fees, said SDSU Executive Vice President Mike Reger.

“Those are the only sources of funds that we have,” he said. “The total cost includes the construction contract as well as all the architectural fees and other fees to the state.”

Renovations to the house will include replacing the cedar siding and installing insulation. The entire front porch will be replaced and extended about three feet for Americans with Disabilities Act specifications.

The existing stained-glass sidelights on the door will be refurbished and preserved. The four columns on the porch will also be replaced and all the windows will be repaired, restored, or replaced on an individual basis.

In addition, the entire front yard will be landscaped with new sod, plants, flowers and bushes. An underground irrigation system and a new walkway will also be added.

The house will not be usable for university functions for the next three months. President Peggy Gordon Miller and her husband, Robert Miller, have relocated to a rental duplex in Brookings.

“Bob and I are so grateful that the building will be saved,” said President Miller. “We have been dedicated to try to preserve Woodbine for future generations. We will work to find other locations for the important business of the university.”

The renovation finally begins after nearly two years of extensive discussions with the State Historical Society and the Brookings Historic Preservation Commission.

Since Woodbine Cottage is on the National Register of Historic Places, renovation meant preserving its historic nature while maintaining it as a living residence -often a delicate balancing act encountered when dealing with historic structures.

“SDSU, in collaboration with the State Historical Society, is doing everything it can to preserve the character of the house, while also trying to bring the facility up to current and maintainable standards,” Reger said. “We are pleased that we finally are getting this project started and we will move as fast as we can to have a functional house.”