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The campus of the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton had upgrades of $13.3 million, including replacement of old water and sewer pipes. The extensive infrastructure overhaul also resulted in a beautification project, including the planting of 380 trees and a new campus gate. Special to Forum News Service.

NDSCS gets $13.3 million upgrade, new $1 million lab-classroom

WAHPETON, N.D. — The North Dakota State College of Science here has completed a $13.3 million infrastructure upgrade of its campus that includes new water and sewer lines, roads and walkways.

The upgrade, completed after two years of construction, resulted in a campus beautification project that included planting 380 trees as well as reseeding and restoration of 17 acres that involved planting native grasses, shrubs and other plants.

The overhaul, from appropriations granted by lawmakers in 2015, enabled the campus to wipe 20 percent of its deferred maintenance projects off its books.

"It is the largest and most disruptive capital project in the history of the college," NDSCS's president, John Richman, said Monday, Oct. 9. "But we did not cancel one event through the two years of the project."

Other improvements include new campus lighting and security cameras to improve safety. One aesthetic touch: a new gate at the main entrance to campus.

Many of the construction materials were recycled.

"We have one of the safest, cleanest, healthiest campuses," Richman said.

During construction, crews had to excavate many roads winding through campus, as well as many parking lots, in order to replace more than five miles of underground pipe.

"When we designed it, we changed the traffic flows to slow it down," enhancing safety with traffic design, Richman said.

All of the contractors were local, helping to boost the area's economy, both directly and indirectly, through purchases including gas, meals and workers' motel rooms, Richman said.

Separately, the college also has opened a new $1 million classroom and laboratory for instruction of heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

The project was a collaboration between Trane, which manufactures heating and cooling systems, a state grant and the college. Trane donated equipment that students will use in their training.

Enrollment in the program has grown from single-digits to nearly filling the available 24 slots. Some of the students have financial support from companies planning to hire them, Richman said. On average, he added, there are from four to 12 job listings for every graduate of NDSCS.

"I think the upgrade of the facility is helping to attract students," to the heating, air-conditioning and ventilation program, he said.

NDSCS has received permission to launch a fundraising drive to build a new career academy workforce training center, with an estimated cost of $30 million, in Fargo or West Fargo. The college has maintained a site in Fargo for 20 years, but is outgrowing the space.

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