OSU on National Register of Historic Places

OSU on National Register of Historic Places

CORVALLIS, Ore. - More than 100 historic districts in Oregon are on the National Register of Historic Place, but none were on a college campus -- until now.

Weatherford Hall, the Memorial Union and historic Benton Hall -- all icons of Oregon State University.

"This is a point of pride for the university and for all our alumni," says Assistant Vice President Todd Simmons of the OSU News and Communications Department.

Now, Oregon State joins the ranks of the few.  A large piece of the campus is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Only a handful of campuses nationwide have been duly honored.

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"What you'll see is that it's about a third of the campus district boundary.  It's a substantial size," says Patty McIntosh, Campus Planning Manager, who began creating the university's nomination for the honor two years ago.

More than 80 sites on campus are part of the new district, including green space, dozens of buildings and even the Memorial Union quad area, 180 acres in all.

So here's the bottom line. Getting on the national register will make OSU much more competitive for future grants, to make sure places like this stately ballet room in the 1926 Women's Building are preserved.

"I think there was just a lot of input from the campus community that really pushed forward this effort, because it's really important to preserve these buildings," said Larry Pribyl, faculty in the broadcast communications department.

"With the National Historic District designation," says Todd Simmons, assistant vice president of the communications department, "it makes us immediately viable for funding from a range of private foundations."

Grants that will make sure these old style buildings with wide stairs and other classic woodwork don't fall into disrepair. OSU and Corvallis will benefit in another way.

"We're pursuing historic marker signage on I-5 and we're going to be putting up new signs all around campus, pointing people to the historic district," explains Todd Simmons.

Campus officials have just begun looking for the right grants to make sure OSU stays historic. Final approval on the application from OSU came just a few weeks ago from the National Park Service.