Teddy Roosevelt to get mass timber library

The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in North Dakota’s Badlands is scheduled to start construction in April, and the 26th president of the U.S. is being honored with a mass-timber building. 

Mercer Mass Timber (MMT), a low-carbon advanced manufacturer of timber building materials and a subsidiary of Mercer International Inc., announced that it will provide mass timber for the library. The company said the project honors the president’s legacy of conservation by utilizing locally sourced and renewable resources, like mass timber.

In partnership with general contractor, JE Dunn, MMT will provide mass timber design assistance, materials, and coordination and logistics for the project, including the signature roof structure. MMT’s mass timber will contribute to the project’s ambitious sustainability goals, aiming for zero energy, water, emissions and waste.

A sustainable journey 
The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library will sit on 93 acres in Medora, North Dakota, situated near the Burning Hills Amphitheater. The library will be a single-story, large footprint museum building with 93,000 square feet of interior space that includes interactive galleries, community spaces, a cafe, and an auditorium.

The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library will feature a preserved natural landscape, dotted with pavilions for reflection and activity. The library's location allows for ongoing conservation research while offering a haven for educational walks, leisure, and recreation. Through continued maintenance and cultivation, the site will act as a living laboratory and repository for the Badlands' unique flora.

"We're honored to be part of this groundbreaking project, recognized as one of the most sustainable cultural institutions globally," said Brian Merwin, Senior Vice President of MMT. "The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library exemplifies our commitment to pushing boundaries in sustainable construction."

Made with mass timber
MMT will be providing nearly 1,800 m3 of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glulam across the project. The sustainable wood will be used for the library’s structure, including the roof structure in phase one. Phase two will incorporate CLT and glulam in exterior features like a footbridge and canopies sheltering photovoltaic arrays.

“The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library project represents a transition we’re seeing in modern building and architectural design, where community spaces are being constructed with long-term sustainability in mind,” said Nick Milestone, Vice President of Projects and Construction at MMT. “Mass timber is the perfect material fit. Our team will work closely with other project partners to bring this important new landmark to life, on schedule, on budget, and meeting its sustainability goals.”

The first stage of the project will start in April 2024, with the project slated for an opening on July 4, 2026. 


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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).