School isn't out for the summer

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal
Journal Photo
Between working with budgets, summer courses, completion of renovation projects and preparation for another school year, the Lake Region State College campus in Devils Lake continues to be a busy place in the summer. Classes begin August 24

By Harry Lipsiea

Journal Reporter

There is a misconception out there that summer is a downtime at Lake Region State College.

While there are less students walking the halls in June and July, it does not mean that less work is going on.

Between summer classes, programs taking place off campus, the completion of renovation projects and preparation for a new school year, it's been productive and at times hectic past two month, Lake Region State College President Dr. Doug Darling pointed out.

"It's been a very good summer, but it's alson been an extremely busy summer," he pointed out. "In fact, many people don't realize that it's one of our busy times of the year as we wrap the current school year and transition to the next one."

Budgeting is one of challenge each summer. Years in which the state legislature have met are particularly busy as college employees are working on two separate bienniums, Darling noted.

On the renovation side, work is being completed on the Bergstrom Technical Center. The facility officially opened its doors last fall and a grand opening was held.

"There were just a few odds and ends that needed to be wrapped up," the president said. "Within the next few weeks, it will be 100 percent completed."

The center, which is the first new building project at the campus in 35 years, has been a huge hit. The expansion brought additional space for numerous programs including nursing and automotive technology.

"It truly is a first-rate instructional facility. We couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out," Darling said. "Take our nursing program for example, I think we have a facility that would rival any college in the state."

The technical center project was one approved during the 2013 legislative session. During this session, funds for a new electrical system at Lake Region State College were provided by the legislator.

The current system is original with the building and includes parts that can't be ordered anymore.

It's essential to have an efficient electrical setup particularly in North Dakota.

"In the winter months having electrical issues and losing power is one of the worst things that can happen," Darling stated.

In the past several years, a new heating plant has been finished and improvements have been made to the roof. With the installation of the electrical system, the Lake Region State College main building will be up to date.

"Once this is completed, our campus will be structurally in very, very good shape," he added. "That is so important."

The college is currently in the process of accepting proposals from contractors regarding the project.

Recently, LRSC officials were notified that the institution had again received funding through a state-wide TRiO grant. It is for student support services on campus.

This grant will be in the amount of $247,577 for the first budget period September 2015 through August 2016. It is anticipated that the grant will be funded for a total of five years.

The TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) Program grant seeks to provide academic and general support services to low-income, first-generation or disabled college students in order to increase graduation rates, create a climate that will facilitate these students’ success and help them transfer from two-year to four-year colleges.

"We have been very successful with the program in the past and are very excited to again have the opportunity to receive funding for these important services," the president added.

Looking forward to the 2015-2016 school year, there is one new program coming to the Lake Region State College. A paramedic-to-nursing program has been added giving current paramedics the opportunity to earn nursing degrees ahead of schedule.

"It's a grant-funded program that is a fast track for individual who are already paramedics. We are extremely excited about it," Darling stated. "Eventually, phase II is to offer nurse-to-paramedic degrees. Both nurses and paramedics are currently great professions that there are great needs for in the state of North Dakota."

Darling is particularly excited for students to get on campus. Orientation is set for Aug. 22 and 23 with first day of classes beginning at 4 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 24.

"It's always such a feeling of excitement when students and staff return," Darling stated. "We are looking forward to a great year."