The Liberal Arts Building was the third building constructed on campus. The first phase was completed in 1901 including the arch that served as the front entrance. Over the ensuing decades, the building became the nucleus of the campus, housing many functions.
Due to structural problems, the 93 year-old building was demolished during the summer of 1994. However, the arch was painstakingly dismantled by hand to facilitate its reassembly. Each block was chiseled out and numbered. This process allowed reconstruction of the arch much like a jigsaw puzzle.
The arch was reconstructed during the summer of 1995 using a design selected by the Save the Arch committee. The actual arch is surrounded by two smaller archways. The three-arch structure, now the Memorial Arch and Plaza, is representative of the first three buildings on campus, links SD Mines' past and present and stands to pay tribute to the university's rich heritage.