- Associated Press - Sunday, June 29, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Officials have secured funding, allowing plans for a presidential library for Theodore Roosevelt to move forward in Dickinson.

Dickinson State University and its Theodore Roosevelt Center were tasked last session by the state Legislature with designing a presidential library for the 26th president, who often said he was transformed by his time in western North Dakota.

Legislators promised $12 million in state funding if Dickinson State could come up with $3 million of their own in non-state funds. University President D.C. Coston told a budget committee this week that money will come from the city of Dickinson - with an additional $5 million as well if the state contributes “significantly more funds.”

Dickinson State officials have said that the project will likely cost more than the $15 million already invested.

The university and its center - which has been digitizing documents, letters and media related to Roosevelt since 2007 - have been working on the library plans with Ohio-based designing firm Hilferty and Associates.

Richard Woolecott, who is leading the library’s design as project manager, said he estimates the library to be approximately 56,000 square feet.

Woolecott said the master plan for the library is expected to be completed by the end of July. Last week, the firm announced that it has identified four potential sites in Dickinson, one of which would be on the Dickinson State campus.

Coston and Sharon Kilzer, the project manager at the Theodore Roosevelt Center, said Wednesday at the Capitol they hope the library and museum will serve as a national tourist attraction and provide a similar effect to what western North Dakota had on a young Roosevelt.

“He became rounded-out in who he was, he became that robust character physically, and with that sense of presence that we all know of Roosevelt,” Coston said. “What happened in western North Dakota was truly a transforming experience for him” and the museum is going to be “an opportunity for our visitors to have transforming experiences in their lives, drawing off that legacy.”

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