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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published June 01 2010

ND State College of Science boosts presence in Fargo

North Dakota State College of Science has a growing presence in Fargo.

Now the college is starting to be less quiet about it.

The two-year college based in Wahpeton expects to serve an increasing number of students in Fargo, particularly as it launches a new liberal arts program this fall.

“We look at the Fargo area and have analyzed over the years that there is not a two-year college presence in Fargo,” President John Richman said. “We believe that need is here.”

NDSCS has offered programs at the Skills and Technology Training Center on 12th Avenue North for about a dozen years.

But most people think of the building as a training facility or associate it with North Dakota State University, Richman said.

The college plans to rebrand the facility as NDSCS-Fargo.

Richman said the Fargo programs won’t take away from what the college offers in Wahpeton. But the mission of NDSCS expands beyond Wahpeton.

“North Dakota State College of Science is a state college,” Richman said. “Our primary purpose is to provide a knowledgeable, skillful work force for the state of North Dakota.”

Making higher education accessible is a priority for the state Board of Higher Education, said President Richie Smith of Wahpeton.

A consultant who met with board members last year said the North Dakota University System was “missing the boat” by not having a two-year college presence in Fargo and Grand Forks, Smith said.

“There were too many kids going to Minnesota or slipping through the cracks,” Smith said.

Last year, 85 students were enrolled in NDSCS credit courses from Fargo.

Some of the programs include welding, nanoscience technology and practical nursing.

NDSCS also partners with NDSU to offer the Pathway Program, which is for students who are not admitted to NDSU and need college readiness work.

That program, which will be in its third year this fall, is popular and is expected to grow, Richman said.

Starting this fall, students can earn a two-year liberal arts degree from NDSCS in Fargo.

Kari Anderson, Fargo program coordinator, said she takes calls every day from potential students.

“I’m getting a lot of students who are looking for more personalized attention and smaller class sizes,” Anderson said.

The program offers courses in a block format, so students would attend classes four hours a day for four days a week.

“It’s very accommodating for the students that either have their own children in school or they’re juggling one or more jobs,” Anderson said.

The Skills and Technology Training Center will be remodeled this summer to accommodate the new program.

NDSCS may be looking for more space in Fargo in the future, Richman said.

“We believe it (the new program) may exceed the capabilities of our current facility,” Richman said. “That’s not going to happen soon, but we believe it will happen.”

The new program will bring competition for Minnesota State Community and Technical College Moorhead.

Provost Jerry Migler has said it could be good for both schools if it generates more interest in community colleges.

NDSU President Dick Hanson has said he thinks the NDSCS program will serve a different student population.

“Our intent is not to be seen as a competitor,” Richman said. “Our intent is to meet the need of the North Dakota residents.”

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