Shine a flashlight at those indents, and you can still see the fingerprints left by a man who will never be named, yet who was that first step in creating a building that would carry the memories and laughter of generations of faculty, staff, and students who would share that building in the decades to come.
Not all buildings can be saved. Not all buildings should be saved. But, when there is a collection of public buildings, all within sight of each other, each unique in construction and character, each filled with North Dakota history of over a century, we need to take note and make extra effort to conserve those remaining bits of the past.
Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Once the ground has been pierced for one more oil well, cracked open for one more coal mine, or bulldozed flat for one more factory it can’t be put back to the way that it was. This development might not be bad if jobs are created, and if those managers and owners of drillers, miners, and development are also stewards for the land that they are scarring. That the suffering of the land, the dirtying of the skies, and the poisoning of the rivers leads to an improvement for our overall quality of life and a bettering of our natural world in the future. But I don’t think that this is possible right now. Because this is the time of blatant greed, of naked attempts at taking land by use of personal power. Of getting rid of any rule or regulation that hurts the bottom line, even if it destroys land, water, or air for others. Of paying many people much less so that a few can make a lot more. This is the time of tearing down the old because it’s old, without regard for the longevity of what will be put in its place. History has a record of what happens to growth under these conditions, and it usually doesn’t end well.