Wecota Annex to be razed in $800,000 demolition

Greta Goede, Reporter

Wecota Annex on the west side of campus will be torn down and replaced by green space after the Legislature and Gov. Kristi Noem approved House Bill 1023 this spring.

HB 1023 was introduced at the request of the South Dakota Board of Regents, and allows South Dakota State University to spend $800,000 to raze Wecota Annex. 

Doug Wermedal, associate vice president of student affairs, said the building is to be taken down in summer 2023, and that it would take the whole summer. 

There are no plans to replace Wecota Annex with any other buildings, Wermedal said. Now that the bill has passed, it will take several months to plan for the building’s demolition. 

“It takes about a year to get the engineering on how to take it down safely,” President Barry Dunn said in a Students’ Association meeting Feb. 7. 

The process of taking down the annex will be complex because it is connected to the west side of Wecota Hall. The deconstruction will need to be done in a way that avoids damaging Wecota.

“The demolition will be surgery, not force,” Wermedal said. 

Wecota Annex is the oldest dorm to recently house students on campus and was built in 1940. It served as housing for students up until 10 years ago, Wermedal said. And, at times during the COVID-19 pandemic, students who tested positive for the virus were housed in isolation in the annex.

Because the hall has dated furnishings, small rooms and wouldn’t house enough students if it was updated, it remains unoccupied, meaning the university is currently putting money into the unused hall to keep the lights and heat on.

“If the hall were to be used again, it would need many upgrades,” Wermedal said.

The aging building has been a home for many students since it was built. Mary Anne Krogh, dean of the College of Nursing at SDSU, stayed in the annex while she was a student. She said the hall held many fond memories for her.

“It’s sad to see the building torn down, but the resources (going) to the building could be used elsewhere,” Krogh said.