For Immediate Release: Friday, October 10, 2003
Renovated Solberg Hall Returned to State
BROOKINGS - Under final terms of a first-ever lease arrangement with a university foundation, the South Dakota Board of Regents Friday accepted the return of a renovated 102-year-old classroom building on the South Dakota State University campus as state property.
The unique transaction, authorized in 2001 by the state Legislature, involved leasing Solberg Hall to the South Dakota State University Foundation for a $3.93 million renovation project. Once renovations were complete, the foundation agreed to return the improved facility back to the Board of Regents at no cost to the state.
"We congratulate the SDSU Foundation for taking the initiative to rehabilitate this historic structure on the Brookings campus," Regents President Harvey C. Jewett said. "The foundation conceived this project and carried it forward to a very successful conclusion. The state of South Dakota has a beautiful and functional building to show for it."
"It has been a long-time goal of mine to see Solberg Hall, SDSU's original engineering headquarters, returned to a center of engineering excellence," said Jerry Lohr, who chaired the project. "A lot of other people shared this passion for the Solberg Hall reconstruction project and working together we made it a reality, through private gifts from alumni and friends to the SDSU Foundation." Lohr, a 1958 SDSU civil engineering graduate, lives in Saratoga, Calif.
Solberg Hall was built in 1901 as the Physics and Engineering Building, and renamed in 1966 for Halvor C. Solberg, credited with introducing mechanical engineering to SDSU. It was in one of Solberg Hall's engineering shops that Stephen F. Briggs-later of Briggs & Stratton Corp. fame-developed plans for his version of an internal combustion gasoline engine.
The architecture of Solberg Hall is representative of the northern Italian mode of the second Renaissance Revival, popular between 1890-1920. A focal point of the building's design is an arcaded and recessed gallery, which serves as the entrance.
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