Minnesota State Community and Technical College’s Wadena campus greeted students this fall with a trio of renovations that aim to make the college more warm and welcoming to students and community members alike.
The warmth is generated by the replacement of the college’s original 50-year-old boiler, deep in the building’s lower level. Much more visible are the transformation in the student services area and the library, and the extensive renovation of the nursing lab and classrooms.
The community is invited to a campus ribbon cutting for the renovation at 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, with refreshments to follow the ceremony.
“Our goal with the project was to be more welcoming to our students and the general public when they enter the building, as well as assisting with wayfinding, centralizing our student development services and bringing more collaborative study space to our library,” said Pat Nordick, M State’s chief financial officer and project manager for the renovations, which began in May and were completed in August.
The campus now has something it was missing: a front reception area adjacent to the remodeled Student Development Services Center that houses crucial services including financial aid, advising and admissions. The SDS Center includes space for student life and a veterans center, plus a food pantry in the office of the college social worker.
Underutilized classroom space nearby has been transformed into a bright and airy technology-friendly library with 24 computer work stations, a test center, three study rooms for collaborating students and study areas in the adjacent corridor. Library improvements and better wayfinding had been the top priorities on the campus master facility plan, developed with staff and student input.
“The open concept creates a very welcoming and modern environment, and the new library is a wonderful addition,” said second-year nursing student Ali Petersen, adding that the new look could even encourage student participation in campus events and clubs. “The Wadena campus is such a welcoming environment fit for every person’s needs. All of the staff truly care about the success of their students.”
The SDS/library renovation was funded with an $820,000 allocation from the 2017 Legislature.
The $270,000 nursing lab renovation is being funded by private donors, including a lead donation from Tri-County Health Care of Wadena. The project was guided by the nursing program’s faculty with input from their advisory committee.
The renovated area includes classroom space and lab space that replicates a current hospital setting. It incorporates a simulation lab that allows the faculty to use simulation equipment to train students in various patient experiences.
“The new lab facility is not only beautiful but functional,” nursing instructor Pat Ahlschlager said. “The open spaces and up-to-date bedside technology provide great learning opportunities that mimic the health care industry today. The simulation lab with its new Anne Mannequin will provide excellent modeling of care for the students.”
The general contractor for the SDS/library renovation and the nursing lab projects was Gopher State Contractors of Rice. ClimateMakers Inc. of Brooklyn Center was the contractor for the boiler project, financed through $715,000 in state asset preservation funds.
Next in the works for the college are a boiler replacement project on M State’s Detroit Lakes campus and construction of a Center for Student and Workforce Success on the Fergus Falls campus.