Office of University Relations
SDSM& T News
501 E. St. Joseph Street • Rapid City, SD 57701- 3995
Phone: ( 605) 394- 6082/ 2554 • Fax: ( 605) 394- 6177
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2000
M- HILL LIGHTS GLOW IN THE NIGHT
Rapid City has a new glow to its skyline. A project to light M- Hill was completed this week, and the “ M”, along with the adjacent “ S” and “ D”, are now a nightly beacon to areas residents and returning alumni of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology ( SDSM& T). The SDSM& T Alumni Association coordinated the project that included more than a year of planning and work by many local alumni, businesses, students and faculty, just in time to welcome back nearly 2000 alumni and friends to the upcoming five- year All- School Reunion, July 6, 7, & 8, 2000.
The “ M” was constructed by hand in 1912 on Cowboy Hill by students and faculty of the then School of Mines by removing rock and dirt and replacing it with stones that were later whitewashed to make it visible from twelve miles away. Hailed the largest letter in the state, the “ M” measured 112 ½ by 67 feet. Students began to replace the stones with concrete in 1922, and established the M- Day tradition of setting the senior plaque in the fresh- poured concrete.
More recent history witnessed the installation of a television tower just north of the letters, which brought the dream of electric power for lights on the “ M” into reality. Border States Electric Supply manager and SDSM& T alumnus Dave Habicht worked with Brink Electric Company, Baumgartner’s Electrical Contracting, Quinn Construction, Black Hills Power and Light, Pete Lien and Sons, the City of Rapid City and SD Tech to install the lights over the past year.
Recently, Birdsall Sand & Gravel, Wharf Resources and Frye’s Paint & Supply also contributed expertise, materials and labor to finish pouring the concrete on the “ D”, reseeding the hillside and painting the letters to complete the project before the Alumni Reunion scheduled to begin next week. All tolled, dozens of alumni, faculty, students and local individuals have contributed both time and effort to complete the project. Plans are to light the letters nightly from dusk until about midnight, depending on the time of year.
In 1912, the Black Hills Weekly Journal reported that the project aroused great interest, and that people used spyglasses, opera glasses and binoculars to view the proceedings. Today, the lighting of M- Hill has again stirred interest and wonder.
( tjv: alumni/ pressrel/ M- Hill lighting)
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