Minot State building for futureMINOT (AP) — Early settler Erik Ramstad is buried in the First Lutheran Church Cemetery next to Minot State University. So is the first child who was born to European settlers in the area.
MINOT (AP) — Early settler Erik Ramstad is buried in the First Lutheran Church Cemetery next to Minot State University. So is the first child who was born to European settlers in the area. So are other prominent early citizens, many of them with close ties to the early years of Minot and of the history of the college.
The closeness of the cemetery to the college, of death near a college filled with students in the prime of life, has disconcerted past college presidents and state officials.
One past president pondered planting trees to obscure the view. A state legislator suggested all the graves in the cemetery be moved elsewhere. Current MSU president David Fuller informed him that the university would have to get permission from the relatives of every person buried in the cemetery.
The legislator thought the law should be changed so it would be easier to move the cemetery away from MSU property.
Fuller has decided not to attempt to obscure the cemetery from view or try to separate it from the college.
``I think we should celebrate it,' Fuller said.
The cemetery is to be fenced off with an ornamental fence and the access to the cemetery improved for people who want to visit a grave or stroll through the grounds, he said. Future improvements might include a walking path near the cemetery with statuary or information about the people buried there and the contributions they made.
A Minot State University graduate is researching the history and lives of the people in the cemetery. First Lutheran Church officials are working with Minot State to fix up the cemetery in time for its upcoming anniversary celebration.
Also on the university's master plan, the plan that maps out how the campus should be developed over the next 15 years, is a proposal to place statues of prominent people or to place at different spots throughout the campus a marker explaining a particular historical event that happened there.
Fuller is a great believer in evoking a ``sense of place' and honoring ``who we are and who we have been' when landscaping the campus. Visitors to the campus also may see more plantings native to the region and granite boulders taken from the North Dakota earth.
As people drive on North Broadway past Minot State University, they also see a 7-foot tall monument sign being built.
``We're expecting to start installing the stone and the brick sometime in late July,' said facilities director Roger Kluck. ``The main, center sign will have a replica of Old Main and will also have a replica of the Dome. Leading into that from the north and the south will be a mixture of field stones to kind of give the feel of the transition from the prairie to the university.'
The general effect will be of a timeline, starting with the time when the valley where Minot is located was being formed by the movement of glaciers.
The concept for the sign, o be completed this fall, was designed by MSU art professor Walter Piehl. The $460,000 sign will provide a gateway to the campus and add a park-like atmosphere. The Board of Regents has pledged financial support to the monument sign, and internal funds and donations will pay for the rest.
``It will look very nice,' said Kluck. Part of the campus master plan will include an ornamental walking path through campus with statuary and native flowers and plants, he said.
Other major building projects will soon be under way at Minot State University, and a geothermal heating system might be in the future.
Fuller is investigating the possibility of installing a $17 million geothermal heating system on campus, hoping to use federal stimulus dollars, grants and money intended to replace the boiler. If the financing doesn't come together, Fuller said it might be necessary to repair the existing boiler instead.
If the funding for the geothermal heating comes together, students and faculty could see the campus being ripped up yet this fall. Parking could be a nightmare, Fuller warned, though he said that might be an incentive for faculty and students to do more carpooling.
Kluck said the geothermal wells would have to be drilled in parking lots, places where no building would ever be constructed. He said the system could cut down on energy costs and help students learn about green energy.