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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published May 30 2010

MSCTC starts major building project

Minnesota State Community and Technical College is getting a new face.

And more room.

The Moorhead campus will break ground this summer on a library and classroom building, one of the few bonding projects funded by the Minnesota Legislature this year.

The $5.4 million project will provide the first real library for the campus that formerly was a technical college.

The two-story addition also includes 10 new classrooms for a nearly 20 percent increase in classroom space.

Those new rooms are desperately needed for the campus of more than 3,000 students that has doubled its enrollment since 2003, the year it expanded its mission.

Officials hope the visible changes will reinforce for the public and future students that the campus often referred to as “Moorhead Tech” is now a community college.

“It cements the transition to a comprehensive community and technical college,” said Provost Jerry Migler.

The project is also part of the college’s long-range plan to expand to the north and make that side the main entrance.

“It will be a focal point on campus,” Migler said.

Construction is anticipated to begin this August with completion set for 2012.

First, MSCTC will demolish a steel building that has housed the refrigeration and air conditioning program, which is moving to a new mechanical trades lab that is being completed this summer.

The campus identified a need for a new library in 1993. It has been housed in areas that were vacated by other departments, not spaces specifically designed to be a library.

Since 2005, the library has occupied about 3,000 square feet that used to house the graphic arts program.

“We’ve been in two temporary locations for 17 years,” said librarian Perry Werner.

A bigger facility is needed to keep up with the growing student body.

“Sometimes you can’t even find a spot,” said Masi Salah, a nursing major who works in the library.

Serina Hanson, a management, marketing and sales major, said the windowless library doesn’t look like what she’s seen at other colleges.

“It really wasn’t what I imagined,” Hanson said.

The new facility will more than double its size and provide group study areas.

“The contrast will be huge,” Migler said.

The addition also will significantly change how the college looks from the exterior because it’s taller than other facilities.

Signs that say M State will be prominent from the north and south sides.

“A lot of people drive by, and we’ve had a lot of changes inside the campus, but it doesn’t look physically a whole lot different to a lot of people,” Migler said.

Also this summer, MSCTC will remodel the Oscar Bergos Auditorium so it can be used for more student activities. About 100 more parking spaces will be added to keep up with the growth.

A year from now, the campus may be adding a student wellness center.

Students gave tentative approval to use their fee dollars toward a new center. MSCTC is seeking approval to use revenue bonds to fund the new facility, a funding mechanism previously only available to state universities.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590

Construction projects set on F-M college campuses

Construction areas will be a common sight at Fargo-Moorhead college campuses this summer. Here’s a roundup of some of the major projects: