In celebration of Women in Construction Week and Women’s History Month, we salute the leadership team of South Yard, now under construction at Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and South School Avenue in Fayetteville. The Architect, Construction Manager, and Operations Manager are all women, a rare combination even today, and the original architect of the 1950s buildings under renovation was also a woman.
Back in 1950, women represented less than 1% of registered architects. The original buildings at South Yard were designed by one of them. The feed mill and supply buildings, grain elevator, hatchery, and seed house were designed by Fayetteville-born architect Belle Dinwiddie, who we imagine was often the only woman at the table.
Today, South Yard’s design, construction, and operations leadership are all women. While we celebrate these team members and their leadership, we know that we have a long way to go to ensure that our company and our industry truly represent the diversity of our community. We were among the first to sign the Northwest Arkansas Leadership Pledge. In the words of the pledge, we aim to “advance the hiring, development, retention and promotion of diverse talent and invest in initiatives designed to reduce the effects of prejudices in our communities”. As we pursue these ideals, we celebrate this talented team and the progress that women have made since Belle Dinwiddie’s day.
Keepers of History
Women’s History Month and every month, we are so lucky to have amazing local archives that help us understand our ties to the past. Hats off to Shiloh Museum of Ozark History for connecting us with a photo of the architect Belle Dinwiddie, and to University of Arkansas Libraries Special Collections for sharing Dinwiddie’s original plans and correspondence related to the construction of the Farm Service Cooperative Mill, Hatchery, and Seed House from more than 70 years ago.