Long-awaited Renovations are Under Way at DCTC

Construction on improvements to the Transportation and Emerging Technologies areas started in early May

By Emily Zimmer, Rosemount Town Pages

The south side of the Dakota County Technical College building has been boarded up, and during the day there is a consistent din coming from the area. It’s a bit of a mess, but it’s more than a welcome sight and sound to some at the college.

Construction started in early May on Phase I of renovation in the school’s transportation and emerging technologies area and work is moving along as planned, said operations director Paul DeMuth.

“This is a really positive thing,” said DeMuth.

Dean of Transportation and Technical Careers Mike Opp said he can’t but look in at the progress.

“I take time everyday to look through the window,” said Opp.

The renovations will include 118,000 sq. ft. of classroom, lab and shop space in the college’s transportation and technical careers program areas. DeMuth said the improvements will bring the areas up-to-date with what students will experience in the actual workforce. The renovations will be the first to the area since the building was built in 1973.

“This will be a huge benefit to the students,” said DeMuth.

Programs impacted will be auto body collision technology, automotive technician, GM ASEP, heavy construction equipment technology and welding technology. The improvements will eliminate redundancies in specialized equipment needs while using space better.

DeMuth said the renovations will take the already flourishing programs to the next level by advancing the school’s ability to provide top-notch education. DeMuth said the renovated areas will prepare students better for what they will find in the workforce.

Opp said the students are excited for the opportunities that lie ahead. He added that some of this year’s graduates have expressed disappointment that they won’t get to use the new space.

According to the school’s website more than 95 percent of graduates from DCTC’s transportation and technical careers programs find employment in their field of study within six months.

Along with the shop renovations, the project will include upgrades to electric and air intake systems that have been in place since the building was built. DeMuth said the electric and air system upgrades will clean up $5 million worth of deferred maintenance costs for the school.

The project will be paid for with state bonding funds that the Minnesota Legislature approved in 2012. The first phase is estimated to cost $7.23 million.

In 2014, DCTC will request a second round of bonding to complete the second phase of the project. Demuth said the second phase would include the heavy duty truck area, bathroom renovations and more upgrades to the college’s aging core systems.

Some of the programs wrapped up classes a week early in May for the start of construction. Otherwise, DeMuth said students shouldn’t feel much impact from the construction.

Phase I Construction Update | June 12, 2013

A new electrical substation was installed Monday, June 10, replacing two old substations. Over the next seven weeks, workers will switch electrical loads to the new substation, including all outlets and switchs for the entire 118,000-square-foot space undergoing renovation.

Workers will install a new air handler in Pod #16 Thursday, June 13. Air handlers will be installed in Pods #14 and #15 by the end of the week of June 17.

A steel second deck has been added to the new Welding Technology program area. The deck will house air handling, dust collection and load center equipment for the welding shop. Work on the roof will be complete by Friday, June 14. New tar was applied to repair roof areas affected by duct and ventilation work.

New walls are going up for the new, multiuse classrooms that will be due north and adjacent to the GM ASEP and Automotive Technician program areas (Shops #5 and #6). All new flammable tanks have been installed in the Transportation area shops. Assorted demolition, plumbing and HVAC work continues.

For more information about the Transportation & Emerging Technologies Bonding Project, contact:
  • Mike Opp
    Dean of Transportation and Technical Careers
  • Kelly Murtaugh
    Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs