Future plans include renovations of building to serve as vibrant educational center
Miami, May 24, 2016 – With a long history of serving as an exemplary steward of historic buildings and making them accessible to students and the community for educational and cultural purposes, Miami Dade College (MDC) has finalized negotiations on a lease with the United States General Services Administration (GSA) that will lead to the long term use and renovation of the historic David W. Dyer Building in downtown Miami. There will be a signing ceremony at 10:30 a.m., Friday, June 3, at Wolfson Campus, at the corner of NE 3 St. and First Avenue.
The historic postal and court facility will provide needed classroom and learning spaces for MDC students as well as serve as a location for lectures, meetings and cultural events. The College anticipates relocating several of its workforce training initiatives and educational programs in the renovated building. The college’s renowned Law Center, School of Architecture, Miami Fashion Institute and other important programs will be housed in or use the historic building.
Located at 300 Northeast First Avenue, across the street from MDC’s bustling Wolfson Campus, construction of the Dyer Building started in 1931 and, like the Freedom Tower at MDC, it is considered a masterpiece of the Mediterranean Revival architectural style. It was designed by famed architects Phineas E. Paist and Harold D. Steward and officially opened in 1933. It stands as the most monumental Keystone, local limestone structure in South Florida with elaborate external and internal spaces and features. The outside facade includes a colonnade of Corinthian columns and window frames with embossed repeating chevron patterns, and panels depicting scenes from Florida’s history. Interior spaces include entry vestibules with arched openings leading to the main lobby, marble floors, original chandeliers, coffered ceilings and marble postal tables retaining original lamps and cast brass grilles. The building also has an open interior courtyard with a fountain. Most spectacular of all is the ceremonial District Courtroom with its original details including a mural, Law Guides Florida Progress, completed by artist Denman Fink in 1941 and depicting the positive impact of justice guiding Florida’s economic development.
The Dyer Building originally housed ALL Miami federal agencies with the exception of the National Weather Service. The United States Postal Service vacated the building in 1976 and it was subsequently used by the Federal courts and other agencies. Since 2008, the building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, has been vacant and underutilized.
With the long-term lease of the Dyer Building, MDC now oversees the operations of four historic buildings – the National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower, the Koubek Center Mansion and Gardens, the Tower Theater and the Dyer Building. Some historians have asserted the Dyer Building is arguably Miami’s most important landmark building because it housed so many key agencies and provided so many services to the fledgling City of Miami and all within a grand design that warmly welcomed all who visited.