NDSCS celebrates completion of iconic Old Main

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 www.ndscs.edu/newoldmain, including Old Main History, Old Main Video Tribute and a link to view the media event.

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