One of Vermillion’s well-known historical buildings, where the university president and their family reside, is getting an upgrade.
Renovations to the Inman House, also known as the president’s mansion, started in April and is due to be completed by Nov. 30.
Brian Limoges, director of construction and projects for the university said they “basically updated everything” within the house.
“At the house, we kind of did two things, we did a renovation to the existing house and then we added on. Any renovation part of the house is the historical part of the house, we basically updated everything,” Limoges said. “Flooring, paint, electrical, mechanical… expanded the family kitchen… we updated the bedrooms, gave them walk-in closets… and in addition, we added a new entrance, new (garage), new master suite and then a bonus suite above the garage area.”
Laura McNaughton, chief of staff for President Gestring, said plans for the renovation began after Abbott announced his retirement.
“(Abbott) knew that the next president was going to need that house to be updated. It hasn’t been looked at since 1997 when he moved in,” McNaughton said. “That’s when the project started.”
The USD Foundation is also currently paying for the renovation.
In an email interview with The Volante, Stephanie Austin, Director of Communications for USD Foundation, said the foundation would “upfront resources necessary” for the renovation and improvements.
“Updating the Inman House really became a priority toward the end of the previous USD administration. President Abbott was instrumental in setting the improvements in motion so that when he retired, the Inman House would not only serve as a practical residence for his successors, but stand as an inviting and aspirational point of pride for USD and the entire Vermillion community,” Austin said. “Most people would be pretty surprised to know of the serious deficiencies that were addressed in the remodel.”
With the Inman House being a historical building in South Dakota, McNaughton said collaboration with the state historical society had to take place.
“The two front rooms in the house were essentially kept intact, the only things they did was redo the floors, update the paint-that kind of thing,” McNaughton said. “The rest of the house had been added onto over the years so they didn’t have as much historical value and we worked with state historical society to make sure they were okay with what we were doing and that’s also why the outside didn’t change much. We kept the paint the way they wanted it and we kept the front intact as well.”
Limoges said the house needed to be renovated to function for not only the president, but his or her family.
“It didn’t really function very well for a president that has a family and then it also didn’t function very well (for) dinners and events that would occur within the house,” Limoges said. “This renovation really helped bring (the house) up to date and make the house more efficient.”
Austin said the foundation purchased 403 E. Main Street in January because of its proximity to the Inman house.
“Its proximity to the Inman House factored prominently. The property has a number of attractive features, but in other ways requires considerable attention,” Austin said. “We are in the early stages of assessing how the property might look and feel going forward, certainly with an eye toward preserving, where viable, some of its finest features.”
Austin said that the foundation aims for the property benefits the university and the community.
“However the project progresses, we hope it does complement the Inman House and generate pride among the Vermillion community and all of USD’s friends and alumni. As initial steps, we’ve removed the garage and cleared some vegetation,” Austin said. “Beyond that, we’ll be proceeding thoughtfully in our efforts to harness, through private philanthropy, the property’s potential for the benefit of USD and Vermillion.”