Dakota Wesleyan University McGovern Library
A 45,000 square foot facility was designed to honor two of Dakota Wesleyan’s most distinguished alumni. The building provides the campus with an academic library, and it also includes an interactive learning experience related to George and Eleanor McGovern. The building not only serves as a functioning library and gathering space for the university, containing classrooms, study areas, and a lecture hall but also prepares Dakota Wesleyan’s best students for careers in public service.
George and Eleanor McGovern, two of Dakota Wesleyan’s most distinguished alumni, inspired the dedication of this library. McGovern served as a World War II pilot and later as a U.S. congressman and senator. He ran as a presidential nominee in 1972. The building not only serves as a functioning library and gathering space for the university, containing classrooms, study areas, and a lecture hall but also prepares Dakota Wesleyan’s best students for careers in public service.
The new building reflects the existing campus aesthetic and material palette, with an arched Sioux quartzite façade, orange brick, and kasota stone accents.
The goal of the George and Eleanor McGovern Library and Center for Leadership and Public Service is to balance acknowledgment of the past while addressing future needs. Stone and other materials were reclaimed for reuse from Graham Hall, which was demolished on the same site. The design of the museum portion of the building reflects the memory of Graham Hall.
The library was designed while keeping in mind the adjacent buildings on the campus. The roof style between elements was changed to reinforce the contrast of the building’s duality. The central entrance was used to anchor the contrasting portions of the building while addressing the larger scale of the green commons and neighboring buildings.
The main level houses the legacy museum. Support offices and new degree programs are located nearby. This level also includes a reference area, meeting rooms, technology classrooms, workrooms for library staff, and a reading room with a fireplace and coffee bar.
On the second floor are the main stack area, private study rooms, and a small children’s library to support DWU’s strong elementary education program. An archive area incorporates temperature-controlled storage, workroom spaces, and a research area.