The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is asking the city for its opinion on the historical and cultural significance of Haskell Indian Nations University and the adjoining Baker Wetlands.
The corps is preparing an environmental impact statement on proposed routes for completion of the South Lawrence Trafficway; some of the routes would go through the wetlands. As part of its study, the corps is trying to determine if Haskell and the wetlands are eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.
A private study last year by Georgia-based Paul Brockington and Associates suggested that Haskell was eligible. In a Feb. 6 letter to the city, Col. Donald R. Curtis Jr. said that stance was confirmed by Ramon Powers, the state historic preservation officer and director of the Kansas State Historical Society.
"The HINU campus with the Baker Wetlands retains sufficient integrity to meet the criteria of eligibility and is recommended for National Register eligibility as a historic district," Powers wrote in a Dec. 27 letter.
Haskell is eligible because of its long history as an academy for American Indians. The wetlands are part of the history, according to the Brockington report, because they were formerly an "integral" part of Haskell's operations.
Curtis asked for the city's opinion within 45 days. The city commission meets at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.