– Policy 5020: Historic Preservation

Date Originally Issued: October 21, 2019

Authorized by RPM 2.10.1 (“Historic Preservation”)

Process Owner: University Rector

  1. General

The University has several buildings, landscapes, and places or objects of historic significance and value including some of the earliest non-residential interpretations of the Mediterranean Colonial style. Many buildings also have historic significance because of the architects who designed them. These unique historic resources provide a connection to the past for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the general public. They help define a sense of place and are essential to alumni development, student recruitment, and the University’s public image.

It is the policy of the University that all buildings, landscapes, and places or objects of historic significance be preserved and protected. Historic resources should be continuously preserved and maintained to present a positive appearance to alumni, visitors, students, and the public, and to protect the enduring value of the buildings. Removal of or major alteration to any buildings designated by the University Historic Preservation Committee to be of historic significance must be approved by the MTU Board of Trustee.

  1. Historic Preservation Committee

The Historic Preservation Committee advises the Rector regarding historic resources and assists University departments in the preservation and protection of these resources. Departments and units shall consult with the Historic Preservation Committee on matters regarding the University’s historic resources. Committee members include the University Archivist and the Curator of the AMD Archive, and one (1) representative designated by each of the following organizations: Alumni Association, Campus Development Advisory Committee (CDAC), Office of the University Architect, Physical Plant, Department of Anthropology, School of Architecture and Planning, the Department of Art and Art History, and University Communication and Marketing Department. The Committee will elect the chair.

2.1. Functions

The Committee is also responsible for:

  • Identifying and inventorying the University’s historic resources. Historic resources are historically significant buildings, landscapes, and places or objects that possess exceptional value or quality in representing and reflecting the architecture and cultural heritage of the University. This determination should reflect both public perception and professional judgments.
  • Recommending University historic resources for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places and the State Register of Cultural Properties. Since the nomination of a historic resource is a substantial undertaking with financial concerns and long term commitment on behalf of the University, such nomination must be approved in writing by the Executive Vice Rector for Administration and the Rector.
  • Monitoring historic resources for conservation, restoration, rehabilitation, maintenance, interpretation, and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.
  • Advising the appropriate administrator on matters concerning University buildings listed on the State Register of Cultural Properties and the National Register of Historic Places.


2.2. Procedures

The Historic Preservation Committee’s recommended nominations of historic resources shall be forwarded, in sequence, for comment to the CDAC and the University Planning Officer, and approved in writing by the Executive ViceRector for Administration, before presentation to the Rector.

  1. Guiding Principles

The principles listed below are designed to guide the Historic Preservation Committee in fulfilling the responsibilities listed in Section 2.1. herein. These guiding principles apply to rehabilitation, restoration, and maintenance efforts concerning historic resources in a way that responds to the University’s primary mission, the need for change, and the desire to preserve and reinforce the historic character of the University in a cost effective manner.


3.1. Additions, Alterations, and Maintenance

Decisions concerning additions, alterations, and maintenance of historic buildings should take into consideration:

  • the time period and significance of each building, group of buildings, or place;
  • whether a change in use will affect the character-defining features of the historic building;
  • whether additions are compatible in design and detailing, unobtrusive, and do not overwhelm the original building;
  • how usefulness, convenience, energy efficiency, and comfort can be improved without compromising the integrity and historical character of the building;
  • how safety and accessibility to the handicapped can be achieved while still maintaining the detailing and visibility of important building facades;
  • the effect of interior changes on the architectural or historic significance and the visibility or impact on the exterior of the building;
  • retention of views of any significant facades of historic buildings when designing new buildings; and
  • preservation of the historical character of buildings through preventative maintenance, routine maintenance, and minor alterations.

3.2. Landscape and Open Space

Decisions concerning landscaping and open spaces should take into consideration:

  • the relationship of a historic building, the landscape, and the open space surrounding them or between them, which helps define the character of the site;
  • the extent to which streets, walks, and plazas reflect the era of the surrounding historic buildings;
  • how the placement of site elements such as parking lots, seating areas, bike racks, trash receptacles, dumpsters, and signs affects the integrity of historic buildings and sites;
  • whether integration of sustainable hard scape, plant and irrigation materials, and systems could be used while maintaining the historic character, integrity, and significance of the landscape; the use of landscape features to enhance historic buildings and the relationship between such buildings; and
  • the historic merit of landscapes in their own right and the importance of appropriate maintenance.


3.3. Artworks and Decoration

Decisions concerning artworks and decoration should take into consideration the relationship of historic artworks, sculpture, furniture, and decoration within their original context, both exterior and interior.