September, 2015

INFORUM: Fargo culinary center moves closer to reality

September 30, 2015

By Ryan Johnson

A new culinary institute could open here within five years, potentially connecting the next group of chefs, managers and workers with the thriving local restaurant scene.

But some new programs and opportunities for local culinary arts students might begin even sooner.

Margie Bailly, the former Fargo Theatre executive director spearheading discussions to try to establish a local culinary center, said the concept is 50 percent there as more partners have joined the effort.

A committee with about a dozen stakeholders, including academics, local chefs, community leaders and economic development officials, is now meeting on a regular basis to follow up on next steps and get the project off the ground.

While the concept, which has been discussed for more than five years, is still fluid and nothing is finalized, Bailly said there are signs of progress already.

"It is definitely moving forward and we're continuing to connect the dots," she said.

New partners

Bailly said the new culinary center would primarily fall under the auspices North Dakota State College of Science, which is based in Wahpeton but has a presence in Fargo.

The school offers a two-year associate degree in culinary arts on its Wahpeton campus — the only post-secondary culinary arts program in the state — and President John Richman said this new Fargo venture could capitalize on that programming.

"What we see is there's a different demographic, a different type of student, taking our programming in Fargo than the students that are taking the same program in Wahpeton," he said. "That may play out here in culinary arts."

While NDSCS now has a large site in north Fargo, Richman said a new culinary center wouldn't be located in the existing building.

Instead, Richman and Bailly said it would make sense to locate it in downtown Fargo, a hotbed of culinary growth in recent years with new restaurants opening and flourishing.

Bailly said it remains to be seen if the center will open as an institute and full restaurant. There's still some discussion about trying to open a boutique hotel and restaurant to give even more students hands-on experience in the hospitality industry, she said.

But no specific site has been picked. Bailly continues to look into the possibilities with several potential partners, including Kilbourne Group, which has made significant investments throughout downtown.

Holly Hassler, Kilbourne Group's business manager, said a new center could add to the city's already thriving food and beverage scene. While Kilbourne Group is a "big advocate" of the idea, she said it's too early to know if it will be a part of establishing this culinary center.

"We're super supportive of Margie and her idea and definitely helping out in any way we can," she said. "We do see this as a benefit for downtown."

An advisory group with Founding Farmers, which operates three restaurants in the Washington, D.C., area owned by the North Dakota Farmers Union, could visit Fargo by the end of the year to help with long-term planning, Bailly said.

Founding Farmers also has expressed interest in a possible internship program that could start as early as next year, giving NDSCS students in Wahpeton a chance to intern at the group's restaurants in Washington.

Meeting demand

A culinary center would open the door for new kinds of partnerships between NDSCS and North Dakota State University, Richman said. A culinary arts student could study the management side of the industry at NDSU, for example, while management students might want to gain a better understanding of the culinary arts as offered by NDSCS.

Faculty members in both programs have met several times to discuss this potential, Richman said, and an articulation agreement could create new opportunities for this kind of transfer student.

Still, he said, any new NDSCS venture would be launched to address the future workforce needs for North Dakota, not the future of the college.

"This isn't something that we came up with ourselves; this is something that will be led and championed by business and industry, as all of our other programming is," Richman said.

Eric Watson, a chef who operates restaurants in Moorhead and Fargo and also serves as an adjunct instructor at NDSCS in Wahpeton, said Fargo is "long overdue" for a culinary school, especially as it becomes harder to fill the demand for workers here.

"With all the restaurants that have opened just in the last three, four years, there's all these restaurants that perfectly complement a school and a school can complement the culinary community," he said. "It just makes sense."

Full article from

INFORUM: Dual-credit crunch

September 28, 2015

By Helmut Schmidt

Teaching high school courses that also allow students to earn college credit will soon require a master's degree, a change that shouldn't affect the Fargo-Moorhead metro area's three big school districts.

But officials at smaller school districts in Minnesota and North Dakota worry that they may be forced to stop offering dual-credit classes if they can't find teachers with the right degree or graduate credits.

The Higher Learning Commission — the higher education accrediting agency for 19 states, including Minnesota and North Dakota — recently decided that by Sept. 1, 2017, all dual-credit high school teachers must have a master's degree in the area they teach. If they have a master's in another area, they must have at least 18 graduate credit hours in the discipline that they're teaching. The ruling doesn't allow for any grandfathering for teachers with lesser qualifications.

"It's going to create some problems for us," said Cory Steiner, superintendent of Northern Cass School District in Hunter, N.D. "We have teachers with master's degrees, but not necessarily in those classes. How will we get something that will benefit our kids, and do it with the staff we have? ... I hope they will give us some time to work through that."

Steiner said Northern Cass has a teacher with a master's in math, but adding other dual-credit classes in social studies, speech or composition could be a problem.

"We're just going to be in a holding pattern, just because we don't have the staff in those areas," he said.

Hawley (Minn.) High School Principal Mike Martin said his school offers nine semesters of College in the Schools classes and two labs for credit. Fifty to 60 students take the classes, which save them thousands of dollars in college tuition and fees.

Most of the credits are offered through Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls, Martin said.

About a third of Hawley student have a year of college credit under their belts by the time they get their high school diploma. Not long ago, Martin put pencil to paper and figured out what four grads had saved given the costs of the schools they were attending.

"I think it was $83,000 that those kids had saved," he said.

"What I'm most concerned about, as time unfolds, that schools in general will be able to find people" with the right degrees, Martin said. "The big thing for all of us is the uncertainty."

Hugely popular

Minnesota high school students have used the Postsecondary Enrollment Options program to attend classes at colleges and universities since 1985. In 2012-13, 9,177 were getting college credit in that program.

The dual-credit option, called College in the Schools, started in the 2007-08 school year with 17,581 students, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education reports. As of 2012-13, it had 23,583 students enrolled.

The Minnesota Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships reports 59,749 course registrations in 2013-14, earning 208,629 college credits. That saved families more than $55 million in college tuition, the group reports.

The North Dakota University System reports 2,909 high school students enrolled in college courses as of Tuesday. Altogether, they were taking 4,119 courses.

The southeastern North Dakota region had 825 students registered for dual-credit classes, up from 800 last year, said Barbara Spaeth-Baum, a spokeswoman for the North Dakota State College of Science.

Trish Schrom, NDSCS's dean for extended learning, said 43 schools in the region offer dual-credit classes, with NDSCS credentialing about 80 high school teachers as adjunct faculty.

North Dakota requires teachers to have a master's degree and 12 to 16 graduate credits in the discipline they're teaching for dual credit. That's short of HLC's requirements. She said state officials are discussing that, including whether to ask for an extended timeline for compliance.

Officials at the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction say that even if a school has no instructors qualified to teach dual-credit courses, there are other options for college credit.

Districts can turn to interactive television and other technologies as alternatives, said DPI Assistant Superintendent Bob Marthaler.

However, Martin said it's been his experience in Hawley that having a teacher in front of the class is a more authentic learning experience.

""Our students, almost 100 percent, prefer the in-house experience," he said.

It can also be much cheaper to have a live teacher, Martin said.

Hawley High School can offer a dual-credit class of 25 students for $1,800. That same $1,800 would only pay for three students to take an online course, with tuition of $450 each, plus the cost of books and access cards, Martin said.

LIttle effect in metro

Moorhead School District started offering dual-credit courses this year through Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Moorhead. The district has three classes of students taking math for college credit, Superintendent Lynne Kovash said.

MState, which offers the credit, required that the teacher have a master's degree, Kovash said.

The ruling "really hasn't had an effect on us," she said.

The district also has a robust set of Advanced Placement courses. Plus, being relatively near MState, Minnesota State University Moorhead and Concordia College makes it easier for students to take college coursework away from the high school campus.

More than half of Moorhead teachers, 271 of 445, have also earned a master's. But many are in disciplines such as educational leadership, Kovash said, leaving a smaller number of teachers with the degree needed to teach in a subject area, such as English, chemistry, or social studies. There, Kovash says, the district could use help from local colleges and universities in providing graduate courses.

The West Fargo and Fargo school districts offers dual-credit classes through NDSCS.

In Fargo, the requirement for a master's degree depends on what is taught, spokeswoman AnnMarie Campbell said.

Fargo's dual-credit classes are offered in science and social studies. Campbell said 17 teachers are teaching a combined 20 classes at North, South and Davies high schools this year.

West Fargo offers nine dual-credit classes at West Fargo High School and 10 at Sheyenne High School, district spokeswoman Heather Konschak said.

"We really have not had time as a district to analyze what all the impact would be of those new requirements, but we feel confident that we would be able to offer all the classes that we currently are," Superintendent David Flowers said.

Other districts concerned

Farther away from the F-M metro, the level of concern varies.

In Detroit Lakes (Minn.) High School, about one-quarter of the junior and senior classes take dual-credit courses.

"I'm left scratching my head because I don't understand why there was no real conversation about this - it just kind of happened," Principal Darren Wolff said.

Wolff said he wonders what will happen when teachers with the needed master's degrees or graduate credits retire.

"We know we have teachers that would no longer meet the standards as it's being discussed today," said Lake Park-Audubon Superintendent Dale Hogie. "And while we would still teach those classes, the students just wouldn't get college credit for it, and that is a real loss to students and their families both in terms of time and in terms of money."

In Frazee-Vergas, three out of the five instructors teaching the courses would not meet the new requirements without taking more credits, Superintendent Terry Karger said.

Chris Kittleson, principal at Central Cass High School in Casselton, N.D., said about 25 students take a dual-credit English class accredited by Mayville (N.D.) State University

Other college courses are offered online through Mayville State.

"I think we're fairly well covered. We have a fair number of teachers with master's degrees," Kittleson said.

Full article from

IMPACT: Companies Use Students to Fill Holes in Job Market

September 28, 2015

By Grace Lyden

Several times a week, employers call the Career Development Center at Minnesota State University Moorhead, desperate to connect with students.

Can their recruiters visit classrooms? Can they set up tables at Comstock Memorial Union? Can the university host more job fairs?

“We’ve always gotten that kind of call, but the volume is just unprecedented,” said assistant director Diane Wolter, who’s been with the center 15 years.

From traditional methods to free pizza to internship applications on Pinterest, employers are pulling out all the stops to woo new graduates. At a time when Fargo-Moorhead has more job openings than people to fill them, college students are a hot commodity.

“Typically they’ve been here, they’ve had a good experience, they know the market, they can assimilate a lot easier than if somebody’s coming in from another location,” said Jim Gartin, president of the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp.

Gartin’s organization was a sponsor of a study, released in June, that revealed just how dire the workforce shortage is, with 30,000 new job openings expected over the next five years.

Low-skill jobs are growing fastest, but students with post secondary education are also in demand, especially those in health science, transportation, finance and manufacturing.

Keeping those students in town, however, is a hurdle. About 40 percent of employed North Dakota State graduates are working locally, and the same percentage of employed grads from a recent class at MSUM have jobs here. From Concordia College, just 25 percent of a recent class was living in the area six months after graduation.

Gartin believes more students would stick around if they knew all of their potential avenues, which is why his group is working on a database of local career opportunities.

In the meantime, local businesses are tempting students with scholarships, internships and on-campus speed dating.

Free tuition and a job

More and more businesses are hiring students before they graduate. At the North Dakota State College of Science, some students are hired before they start, and their tuition is paid by their future employer.

President John Richman didn’t know how many students have arrangements like this, because many are made privately, he said. But the community college now has 16 formal business partners, up from one partner two decades ago. “We’re telling employers it’s a different market, it’s a different era,” he said. “You cannot expect to show up on our campus in April and May and think you’re going to hire one of the graduates.”

From intern to employee

Another way businesses reach students is through internships, which Gartin’s group will be pushing this year. “People are making commitments, some of them 12 months in advance,” but students can’t commit to a company they don’t know about, Gartin said.

“That’s why we want to put the internship programs at all of the colleges and universities kind of on steroids.” Wolter, the assistant director at MSUM’s career center, said internships are a low-risk way for employer and employee to scope each other out. A few years ago, Sundog, a Fargo-based marketing and technology company, showed its personality by having internship applicants make a Pinterest board of their passions.

On campus

Then there are the on-campus approaches: job fairs, information tables, on-campus interviews. In recent years, MSUM has held networking sessions in which employers talk to small groups and change tables every few minutes – “kind of like speed dating,” Wolter said. At Concordia, businesses have held informal meet-and-greets with breakfast or pizza, said program manager Sara Johnson. “That always is a win.”

Full article from IMPACT

Daily News: NDSCS set to start $13M project

September 25, 2015

By Frank Stanko

The season of spring brings growth, birth and renewal. Starting in 2016, it will also bring more than $13 million in changes to the infrastructure of the North Dakota State College of Science, affecting not only the school’s plumbing and aesthetics, but the city of Wahpeton and its surrounding region.

“They’re viewing our campus like a small town,” said Dallas Fossum, NDSCS’ executive director of facilities management, of Bolton & Menk, the project’s engineering firm. Currently, surveying and identification of existing pipes, phone lines and more is going on. Future plans include use of video cameras sent through pipes to identify their conditions and routing.

All identified structures are being added as GPS-located points on a digital map, providing an accuracy of location within four inches. “[We’ll be able to know] where they’re at, as well as how deep they are. We can attach photos and other specification information right to that GPS location,” Fossum said.

NDSCS will work with the city of Wahpeton to keep the public aware of construction sites, road closures, and traffic patterns through the Internet, public service announcements, news articles and door-to-door notification of potentially affected residents.

“We [do] want to get the word out. A lot of people have been asking about this at various clubs in town, they bring this up and they’ve heard about this allocation of funds, so there is curiosity,” said Barbara Spaeth-Baum, executive director of college relations and marketing.

Fossum said the city will be “an integral partner” in the project.

Among the community locations affected is the Blikre Activities Center, where infrastructure under the site’s parking lots will be replaced and the parking lots themselves will be reconstructed. Work on the the Activities Center is just one component of the infrastructure project’s scale.

“It will be nearly a mile worth of sanitary sewer lines that will be replaced,” Fossum said.

Dennis Gladen, vice president of administrative affairs, had praise for the North Dakota Legislative Assembly, who allocated the funds, allowing the infrastructure project to be the third highest capital project approved during its last biennium.

“It was a win for us, a win for the state, a win for the community,” he said.

Construction is expected to begin immediately in the spring.

Full article from the Wahpeton Daily News

NDSCS Fall Enrollment exceeds 3,000 for Fifth Consecutive Year

September 22, 2015

NDSCS-Fargo grows by 42 percent

Fall semester enrollment at the North Dakota State College of Science has surpassed 3,000 students for the fifth consecutive year, with NDSCS-Fargo showing a 42 percent increase over 2014. Overall, fall enrollment for Wahpeton, Fargo, online and early entry students totals 3,123 compared to 3,033 in 2014. The NDSCS-Fargo location has 422 students registered for at least one class, up from 298 in 2014. 

“By intentionally creating more diversified access for students, NDSCS is now serving a growing number of students,” said NDSCS President Dr. John Richman. “Students are choosing from a variety of educational pathways ranging from daytime classes and evening classes to online and early entry options.”

In addition to enrollment, NDSCS has increased its retention rate to 73 percent, up 11 percent from 2012 when it was at 62 percent. 

“NDSCS has taken great steps to retain our current students, including creating the Student Success Center that provides students academic support such as tutoring, academic counseling and career counseling,” said Richman. “Housed within the recently renovated Old Main, this one-stop location is providing programs and services aimed at broadening access, increasing degree attainment and cultivating lifelong success.”

The 2015 student body is comprised of 1,694 full-time students and 1,429 part-time students. A breakdown of the total enrollment of 3,123 includes 2,113 freshmen and 1,010 sophomores. Men continue to outnumber women at NDSCS: men, 1,694 –women, 1,429. There are 461 students who are 25 years of age or older. 

The enrollment data shows that more than 70 percent of the student body is from North Dakota and more than 22 percent are from Minnesota. Students from the neighboring state of South Dakota make up more than 2 percent of the student body while those from Montana comprise 1 percent of the total enrollment. There are seven international countries represented in the student body.

NDSCS hires Gilbertson as Executive Director of Human Resources

September 22, 2015

North Dakota State College of Science recently hired Sandi Gilbertson as Executive Director of Human Resources located on the Wahpeton, N.D. campus.

Gilbertson, originally from Bottineau, N.D., graduated from Minot State University with a bachelor’s degree in business and from North Dakota State University with a master’s degree in education. She previously worked as the CEO at Circle of Nations school in Wahpeton. Gilbertson and her husband, Wade, reside in Wahpeton with their four children, Brett, Ashley, Mackenzie and Jack.

INFORUM: Forum editorial: The start of school wins roses

September 18, 2015

PRAIRIE ROSES: To everyone – from college administrators to legislators – who were involved in the renovation and restoration of the Old Main building on the campus of the North Dakota State College of Science at Wahpeton. The 124-year-old building was in tough shape – so bad that an entire floor had to be closed off because it was so run-down. That was 40 years ago. Deterioration continued until an effort was mounted to bring the historic structure up to 21st century standards. The just completed $6.7 million, 18-month project has done just that. The impressive building has been repurposed for modern uses, and its historic character preserved. Good work by all.

Full article from

Daily News: Old Main’s renovation should serve the school for many years

September 17, 2015

By Ken Harty

I attended the North Dakota State College of Science New Old Main ribbon cutting Thursday, Sept. 10 and it was amazing.

I believe most readers know what building I am referring to, but if not, just take a drive over to the NDSCS campus in Wahpeton and look for the big building with an S at the top. You can’t miss it, I promise.

Old Main is the original building at what is now NDSCS and construction on it began in 1891. A picture of New Old Main’s rededication is gracing the front of this newspaper today and as you can see the building has retained its historic look. Many people had a hand in making this $8.4 million project happen and some of them spoke during the ceremony. Once the ribbon was cut, the booms of confetti cannons could be heard as confetti appeared to be flying everywhere. Music also started playing as everyone heard, “Celebrate” by Kool and the Gang.

It was a very fun and festive atmosphere and everyone was invited to tour the building where the student chefs were waiting with refreshments. Immediately after the ribbon cutting I headed over to Old Main and took a quick tour of all four floors. As I came into the entrance I was greeted by antique equipment in a glass case that literally set the tone for the rest of my quick walk through. It appears that many of the original hardwood floors and banisters were salvaged and used. On the third floor some of the classrooms have an exposed ceiling showing the original wood and beams. It looks fantastic.

One of the benefits of the renovation is that they opened up the fourth floor again, creating extra square footage that appears to be used for offices, a student gathering area and quiet computer nooks. I also noted that I saw at least two gas fireplaces. I may have overlooked other things due to the crowd that swarmed the building.

I am happy with the results of the renovation and it should serve the school and the community well for the next 50 years or so. Congratulations NDSCS on a job well done!

Full article from the Wahpeton Daily News

Daily News: Old Main begins a new chapter

September 17, 2015

By Kathy Leinen

In the 124 years Old Main has been in existence it has filled different needs – providing classroom space, acting as a dormitory, president’s residence and gymnasium.

For the first few years on campus, Old Main was the sole building for the North Dakota Academy of Science.

The iconic structure was celebrated after a renovation project preserved so much of the building’s history. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Thursday morning and hundreds gathered to pay tribute to a building that has meant so much to the college and the city of Wahpeton.

North Dakota State College of Science president, Dr. John Richman, was quick to explain the remodeling process. After 18 months of renovations, the 124-year-old building that started it all has been restored and boasts a number of improvements, combining old architectural elements with modern classroom needs.

“This is a milestone celebration at NDSCS,” Richman said. “Old Main was the original building on the NDSCS campus in Wahpeton and today we celebrate its history along with its future – and that future focuses on student success. Much thought was put into this project, from enhanced technology to utilizing once unusable space and the results have exceeded our expectations.”

Although the celebration applauded the building’s history, the future is where college administrators are working toward.

Dr. Mark Hagerott, chancellor of the North Dakota University System, said the school had to adapt through the years and continues to adapt.

“This building can give us inspiration,” Hagerott said. “The school went through the Great Depression and is still here.”

North Dakota’s 63rd Legislative Assembly approved the $8.4 million renovation as a capital expense. It wasn’t an easy push, but Clark Williams, former representative for District 25, said the collaborative effort at the state and local level helped make the renovation a top priority for the state of North Dakota.

“We got it through in the 11th hour. Higher education is way too important to be a partisan issue,” Williams said. “As you go through the building today, I’m so glad to be a part of the collaborative effort.”

District 25 Republican Sen. Larry Luick is a graduate of NDSCS and was trying to reconcile the facility of his past with the new Old Main. He said the restored structure was breathtaking. Restoring, instead of replacing was the responsible thing to do, he said.

When he was serving in the 63rd Legislative Assembly he repeatedly answered the question, is the building necessary?

“Not only is it necessary for today, it is necessary for the students and staff to come to in the future,” he said.

Michael Burns of Michael J. Burns Architecture, has a history of bringing old buildings back to life. Before the renovation process at NDSCS, Old Main had an entire floor closed off due to deteriorated conditions. Now housed within the 32,653-square-foot building is the Student Success Center, a one-stop location for students, giving them academic help, tutoring, academic program changes, career planning and job search assistance, quiet and group study spaces, classroom space and faculty offices. Burns pointed out a number of historical aspects that were preserved and displayed:

  • Exposed areas of the granite foundation
  • The third floor’s exposed wood decking and original floor joists in a unique classroom space
  • The entire fourth floor.

Dave Derry, vice president of Henry Carlson Company, said the renovation project consisted of 48,000 hours of work.

“Every time we tore a wall down we found something new,” he said.

The most recognizable structure on campus has been revitalized and is a shining example of the importance of bringing old buildings back to life.

“Old Main is a world-class building that will enhance the educational experience of our students today and in the future,” Richman said. “It will remain an icon to both the college and city with its brightly lit S’s shining from the Old Main steeple for many years to come.”

The celebration concluded with a ribbon cutting ceremony and self-guided tours, featuring an Old Main video tribute and refreshments prepared and served by the NDSCS culinary arts students.

Full article from the Wahpeton Daily News

NDSCS celebrates completion of iconic Old Main

September 10, 2015

New Old Main Celebration and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony showcase extensive renovation

The newly renovated Old Main, a well-known city and college landmark, officially re-opened its doors today in Wahpeton, N.D., at the North Dakota State College of Science. Current students joined NDSCS leaders, North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott, several North Dakota lawmakers and design and construction contractors at today’s celebration.

Thanks to state funding supported by the North Dakota 63rd legislative session, the $8.4 million Old Main remodel is now complete and students, faculty and staff are all enjoying a fully functional space.

“This is a milestone celebration at NDSCS,” said Dr. John Richman, NDSCS president. “Old Main was the original building on the NDSCS campus in Wahpeton and today we celebrate its history along with its future—and that future focuses on student success. Much thought was put into this project, from enhanced technology to utilizing once unusable space, and the results have exceeded our expectations.”

After 18 months of renovations, the 124 year-old building that started it all has now been restored and boasts a number of improvements, combining old architectural elements with today’s new technology.

“To improve energy efficiency and occupant comfort, insulation was added and energy efficient windows were installed as well as modern HVAC systems,” said Dallas Fossum NDSCS Executive Director of Facilities Management. “Due to deteriorating conditions within Old Main, much of the building was either not utilized or underutilized. As a result of this renovation, we were able to re-open the fourth floor and revitalize the rest of Old Main into a student-focused educational building.”

Housed within the 32,653 square foot Old Main is the Student Success Center, a one-stop location for students providing: academic help and questions, tutoring, class schedule and academic program changes, career planning and job search assistance, a test center, accessibility services, quiet and group study spaces, student concerns and complaints, veteran benefit assistance and more.

The Social and Behavioral Sciences department also resides within Old Main, along with numerous offices, classrooms and student spaces.

Incorporated throughout Old Main is the use of innovative classroom technology. All classrooms were designed to be collaborative learning environments, allowing students to share information within small groups or with the entire classroom. An impressive third floor classroom features large screens for both classroom and training, along with two annotation monitors and a unique stained glass window replica.

Throughout the entire renovation, which was led by Michael J. Burns Architects and Henry Carlson Company, one goal was to preserve as much history as possible. In order to maintain the original feel of Old Main, several features were reclaimed. From the uncovering of old wood floors and arched doorways, to reusing salvaged banisters and newel posts from Hektner Hall, Old Main is truly a modern piece of campus history.

And perched atop the building, the famous Old Main S’s will continue to cast their warm glow and light up the evening skyline after a thorough cleaning.

“Old Main is a world-class building that will enhance the educational experience of our students today and in the future,” said Richman. “It will remain an icon to both the College and city with its brightly lit S’s shining from the Old Main steeple for many years to come.”

The celebration concluded with a special ribbon cutting, an appearance by NDSCS mascot Wildcat Willie and self-guided tours of Old Main featuring an Old Main video tribute and refreshments prepared and served by the NDSCS Culinary Arts students. More can be found at, including Old Main History, Old Main Video Tribute and a link to view the media event.

INFORUM: Renovation of NDSCS historic building preserves past

September 08, 2015

By Grace Lyden

Like a lighthouse, Old Main shines over the town of Wahpeton, and now, the inside is pretty shiny, too.

North Dakota State College of Science just completed an 18-month, $6.7 million renovation of the 124-year-old building, which has served as a classroom and administrative building, as well as a gymnasium and the president’s quarters over the years.

“Virtually everything has been in that building at one time or another,” said Harvey Link, the community college’s vice president of academic and student affairs. His office was in Old Main for 20 years while he was a dean.

The building is now home to classrooms for the social and behavioral sciences department, as well as a student success center, which has tutoring, career counseling, study spaces and other services that were previously scattered across campus.

“All the various support systems that almost every student will need at some point during their time can now be found in Old Main,” said NDSCS President John Richman.

This is the first time those services have been centralized. It’s also the first extensive renovation of the building. Forty years ago, the fourth floor became so run down that the school closed it off.

“It just became kind of unusable space,” Richman said. “There were a lot of bats flying around. You can imagine an older building that hadn’t really been renovated in many many years. The condition of it was continuing to deteriorate.”

The recent renovation opened up the fourth floor, added central air conditioning, and included plumbing and electrical work, Link said. There is now an elevator in the core of the building, and classrooms were updated with the latest instructional technology, including large TV screens.

What Link appreciates most is the history that’s been preserved or, in some cases, uncovered.

Behind a wall of the second-floor women’s restroom, construction workers found an old chalkboard with an English assignment still on it. That’s now on display in the building, as are some fireplaces that were discovered behind the walls. Years worth of linoleum and carpet were removed to reveal the original wood floor. And of course, the school pushed to preserve the iconic S’s that, as Link says, “shine above the horizon as you drive into Wahpeton.”

For Link, these details are just as valuable as the improved infrastructure.

“(Old Main) has been such an important part of the history of this community and frankly of this state,” he said. “So to retain the appreciation of the work of what all our forefathers did and put in place, and ... make it new and usable and good, I think just provides some connectivity between what those who’ve come before us have done and what those who’ll come after us will do.”

Full article from

Daily News: New Old Main

September 08, 2015

By Kathy Leinen

Commitment, students, pride, dedication, focus, preservation, history – these words coalesce into a comprehensive message from North Dakota State College of Science President Dr. John Richman.

Work that began in December 2013 outfitted Old Main with new mechanical and electrical systems, HVAC unit, doors and windows, all while saving as much of the historical nature of the building special to both the campus and Wahpeton.

This $8.4 million renovation project shifted Wahpeton’s iconic Old Main from a derelict building into one that supports student achievement and success.

The campus will celebrate the historic building’s overhaul with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 10 on campus.

“There are two areas we’ve always prided ourselves on, a culture of continuous education improvement and legislative support in a facility that is the icon of NDSCS and Wahpeton,” Richman said.

“We refer to ourselves as developers. We develop people,” he said. “We are very focused on students and their success. Our commitment is shown here after spending millions of dollars to improve our ability to better serve and support students. We’ve improved our facilities and improved our capability of better serving students.”

The 63rd North Dakota Legislature approved the capital expenditure project a few years ago by fully funding the renovation with an $8.3 million price tag. Included in this cost were razing two buildings and renovating Old Main. One of the demolished buildings had been vacant for several years and the other was minimally used, Richman said.

Materials from other buildings were utilized in the project. Banisters, staircases, original flooring and other materials were used and reclaimed. Unique characteristics that had been hidden were preserved, he said.

There were some surprises when walls came down. An old chalk board still mounted to the wall was discovered. The English teacher who last used it left their cursive writing behind, a piece that has been preserved and displayed. They also found a tile students from the early 1900s left behind on which their names were written.

These pieces of college history were salvaged and used in the renovation.

Historically speaking, Old Main has gone through multiple uses through the years. It has served as a library, the president’s residence, classrooms, a gymnasium and administrative and faculty offices.

“It has served a lot of purposes over the years,” Richman said. “We’ve renovated it and repurposed it once again.”

The moniker the New Old Main has been used to label the building, a name that just seems to fit. It currently houses faculty offices and classrooms, as well as an enhanced student success center. Student support centers were once scattered all over campus, Richman said, but are now located in Old Main. The center is helping students achieve success through tutoring, career services, academic counseling and career counseling.

Although a tall and imposing structure, the four floors seem less institutionalized after mixing old with new. The fourth floor hasn’t been used for years but after the remodeling process, it was fitted with classroom space, faculty offices and student gathering areas with small computer nooks and lounging areas.

The history of the institution has been preserved and Old Main is flourishing once again with students and staff bustling in and out. The original feel of Old Main has been reclaimed, but with a modern twist.

Richman welcomes all area residents to join the college in the ribbon cutting ceremony. The culinary arts students will prepare refreshments following the program. Self-guided tours and a video tribute to Old Main will run until 3 p.m. so people can see what the college has accomplished.
Parking will be available in the parking lot on the north side of Old Main.

Full article from the Wahpeton Daily News

New partnership adds Mopar CAP LOCAL program option at NDSCS

September 01, 2015

Partnership aligns needs of dealerships for qualified FCA automotive technicians with opportunities for NDSCS students

Representatives from North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS), Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) recently announced a new partnership resulting in the addition of a Mopar CAP LOCAL program option to the NDSCS Automotive Technology department.

In conjunction with NC3, FCA established the Mopar CAP (Career Automotive Program) LOCAL program in order to train approximately 1,000 students annually in more than 100 colleges. Thanks to the College’s membership with NC3, NDSCS will be one of the first 11 colleges to offer this exclusive training for Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram and FIAT® products.

“We are very pleased to be adding this unique and innovative automotive technology option to NDSCS,” said Dr. John Richman, President of both NDSCS and NC3. “This is a great time for the transportation industry in the state of North Dakota and the need for well-educated automotive technicians is in such high-demand.”

Through this cutting-edge partnership, students will learn via a simple yet effective work-study approach that leverages knowledge learned in the classroom with the opportunity to refine skills on the job. Students will also benefit from the possibility of sponsorship support from local dealerships, internships and advanced training.

“This partnership will allow students access to industry curriculum and certifications that have not been available before. We are proud to be one of the first colleges in the United States to offer this opportunity for students,” said Barb Bang, NDSCS Dean of Technologies and Services Division. “This is just another example of industry and education working together to build a stronger workforce for North Dakota.”

Upon successful completion, NDSCS Automotive Technology students enrolled in this select Mopar CAP LOCAL program will become certified as Mopar Level 1 Technicians.

Prospective students can learn more about the Mopar CAP LOCAL program option by calling Peter Mandt, NDSCS Automotive Technology Program Coordinator and Associate Professor, at 701-671-2442.

About NC3
The National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) is a network of education providers and corporations that supports, advances and validates new and emerging technology skills in the transportation, aviation and energy industry sectors. NC3 develops, implements and sustains industry-recognized portable certifications built on national skill standards. Learn more at

FCA US LLC is a North American automaker with a new name and a long history. Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, FCA US is a member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) family of companies. FCA US designs, engineers, manufactures and sells vehicles under the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and FIAT brands as well as the SRT performance vehicle designation. The company also distributes the Alfa Romeo 4C model and Mopar products. FCA US is building upon the historic foundations of Chrysler, the innovative American automaker first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925; and Fiat, founded in Italy in 1899 by pioneering entrepreneurs, including Giovanni Agnelli.

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