Republic newspaper building designed by Myron Goldsmith. (Photo: Wikimedia/Don47203)

Columbus, Indiana, is about 45 miles south of Indianapolis and about 70 miles north of Louisville. In such a largely rural state, Columbus is definitely in the boonies. Its 46,000 residents hold a secret that Indiana University, 35 miles west in Bloomington, tapped last week.

You see, beginning this fall, Indiana University’s new master’s in architecture program will be housed in the former home of Columbus’ newspaper, The Republic. Far from any old building, The Republic building was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill architect Myron Goldsmith and completed in 1971. It’s a long, transparent building that riffs on mentor Mies van der Rohe’s style. The building was designed to show the news being born. Onlookers would walk the length of the glass exterior and see the news being written at one end and ultimately printed at the other.

What led to such a building being built in tiny Columbus, Indiana?