Luther College Moment in History #97

On the day of President Jeffrey Baker's final convocation as president, groundbreaking for a new suite of student housing took place across the road from the main campus. At the ceremony, Rebecca Linnevold Shaw (class of 1971), chair of the Board of Regents, announced that the residential complex would be named Baker Village in his honor, with the commons building being named after his wife Shirley Baker.

Baker Village's Scandinavian-style architecture was designed by the BWBR architectural firm and built by Kraus-Anderson, both of St. Paul, Minn. and expresses Luther's Norwegian heritage. On the exterior, steeply-sloped roofs, gables, vertically-oriented siding, wide trim boards for doors and windows, and decorative ornaments all evoke the simple, bold images common in Scandinavian architecture. On the interior, simple clean lines, functional spaces, light woodwork, and contemporary furniture continue the Scandinavian theme. Baker Village is set at the nexus of a rustic farm park area, a fowering prairie, and a lush wooded area. 

Today, Baker Village is reserved for Luther College upperclass students and incorporates several environmentally responsible features, including geothermal heating and cooling, compact fluorescent bulbs throughout, low-flow shower and faucet heads, low-flush toilets, and landscaping restored to prairie meadows. It was opened and ready for use in the fall of 1999 and consists of twenty townhouse-style units in four separate buildings, named after the Norwegian cities Bergen, Oslo, Lillehammer, and Trondheim. In the summer, the complex is frequently used for conferences and summer programming.

This photo shows the groundbreaking for Baker Village during President Baker’s last week in Decorah. From left to right: Ann Highum, Jeffrey Baker, Diane Tacke, David Sallee, David Anderson, Dave Roslien, E.D. Farwell, Helen Farwell