TEMPE, Ariz. — Supporters of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum were briefed on the project’s plans in preparation for hiring an architect to design a center in the Badlands that molded North Dakota’s adopted son.
The foundation board meeting was held Thursday, Nov. 14, on the campus of Arizona State University with North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum in attendance.
D.R. Horne & Co., a Princeton, N.J., real estate development company with expertise in “projects of natural, cultural, or historical significance” is spearheading planning and development efforts for the $150 million project, which has $50 million in taxpayer backing from the state of North Dakota.
The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation’s board was formed in 2014 to plan, build and oversee the operations of a library and museum honoring Roosevelt, who ranched and hunted in the Little Missouri Badlands in the 1880s.
“We want something integrated and subservient to the landscape — in a natural way versus (having) nature constructed around (it),” said Cathilea Robinette, the foundation board’s chairwoman.
“We want the project to bring people to the Badlands,” she said.
The board officially declared those goals.
D.R. Horne & Co., founded by Douglas Horne, is scheduled to finish planning and development work by Dec. 15 in preparation for hiring an architect in 2020.
North Dakota’s $50 million contribution, to be matched by at least $100 million in private donations, is earmarked for an endowment to pay for operations and maintenance of the center, which is planned to be in or near Theodore Roosevelt National Park at Medora, N.D.
The museum and library will be dedicated to Roosevelt’s “life, legacy and enduring relevance,” said Ed O’Keefe, the foundation’s chief executive officer.
The organizational meeting is an important step in recasting the project, originally planned for the campus of Dickinson State University, and introducing the project to a national audience of prospective donors, O’Keefe said.
Plans call for the museum to complement the rugged Badlands, to be “a part of nature versus apart of nature,” he said.
Backers envision a library and museum that will promote civic engagement and conservation as well as supporting scholars studying Roosevelt, Robinette said.
The board heard presentations Thursday, including from Stephen Dow Beckham, a historian known for his work with Native Americans and the American West.
The meeting continues Friday, Nov. 15, with talk about governance and the capital campaign.