Barry Hall Dedication

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The day is nearly here: the reopening of what used to be the Pioneer Mutual Building, redesigned as Richard H Barry Hall, a part of NDSU's ambitious downtown expansion. In case you didn't know, I worked in that building from 1998 until 2004, and in that time I became more interested in the building's history and the history of the A.O.U.W., including acquiring some films, documentation, receipts and policy paperwork. Don't tell anyone, but I even grabbed a brick from the demolition of Pioneer East. The original building — a large office building for its time — is now a tiny, tiny part of a huge structure, and I'm becoming more impressed as time goes on to see its stature continue to grow and dominate the western edge of downtown Fargo. I plan on going to the dedication next month, and I intend to take pictures.

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NDSU's Downtown Expansion

I hadn't realized this when I was going over NDSU's PML Building expansion: the Y-shaped section of 9th St North directly behind the building will be adsorbed into the NDSU Downtown campus. The wedge of green houses six mailboxes (due to one-ways it allows drivers to drop their mail off out the car window), several trees and a flower garden, and the Statue of Rollo. It appears that Rollo will stay on the grounds, and an accommodation for the mail drop will exist on 3rd Avenue (a one-way going East). I'm pleased with two things: an increase in downtown green area, and a reduction in downtown parking lots. Even when the PML building was completely occupied, the lot was rarely full - remember, the lot across the street to the west also belongs to the PML building as well. If there's one thing I hate about downtown Fargo, it's too many parking lots, not enough buildings. I don't like the loss of a downtown street, though; several other north-south streets have been closed off in the past few years due to building expansion and train safety.

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