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Buildings, Other Structures, and Utilities
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The University of South Dakota (USD) was established as the first university in the Dakota Territory when the Legislature authorized its existence in Vermillion in 1862. It was not until 1882, with the added support of the citizens of Clay County, that the first classes were held in the Clay County Court House and construction began on University Hall, now known as Old Main. Construction was completed on Old Main in 1883, and the University moved into its new building, which was flanked by two residential Halls: West Hall, which burned down in 1905, and East Hall, which still remains standing. In the early morning hours of August 1893, a fire was discovered in Old Main. By noon, only the outer stone walls remained. With support from the community, Old Main was rebuilt by 1895 using the South Dakota Building from the World’s Fair Exposition.
The campus sprawled steadily after 1902 and exhibits a variety of architectural styles, with the Science Hall, old Armory, College of Law, Carnegie Library, Dakota Hall, and Chemistry Building all erected by 1920. I.D. Week’s 30-year presidency authorized the construction of many buildings, including Slagle Hall, Patterson Hall (Business School), Lee Medical Building, and many new residential halls. It also saw the closure of Old Main to habitation and resignation of the building to that of a storage facility. In the 1990s, President Betty Asher Turner’s administration undertook to restore and renovate Old Main, and it was rededicated in 1997. With increasing demand for updated facilities, all four residential halls that comprise the North Complex were renovated by 2007. A partial list of the buildings constructed during James Abbott’s USD presidency (1977- ) are: Beacom Hall, Coyote Village, Lee Medical Building (new), Muenster University Center, Wagner Center, and Wellness Center.
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