Bemidji State and Northwest Technical College collaborate on renovation
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Bemidji State and Northwest Technical College collaborate on renovation

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Since 1989, the Bemidji State University football team made its home in a 1,200-square-foot locker room tucked away in the underbelly of the physical education complex. The space served its purpose, but with a layout broken up by banks of 142 metal lockers the coaches were unable to make other use of the space.

The need for a renovated locker room has been on the top of BSU Head Coach Jeff Tesch’s mind for quite some time. Several plans have been started, but none ever gained traction until last summer. Tesch, along with BSU Vice President for Finance and Administration Bill Maki, hatched an idea that would tap the skills, equipment and manpower of the carpentry program at sister institution Northwest Technical College.

The NTC carpentry program, under the direction of instructor Tony Schouten, has tackled the project head on. Members of Schouten’s commercial design course kicked the renovation off by designing the wooden lockers. NTC’s cabinetry class then took that design and is in the process of building  123 wood lockers, which also includes 18 for a similar locker room renovation for BSU’s volleyball program.

It’s a win-win situation.

“This is a neat relationship,” said Tesch. “NTC students are honing their skills and earning course credit, while helping to improve BSU’s facilities. It’s a no-brainer.”

The NTC carpentry program is able to offer its students an opportunity to be a part of a large-scale tangible project and its students are afforded a chance to showcase their abilities and earn course credit for the their role in the project, all while BSU is having a pressing need met.

In another example of the collaboration, NTC plumbing instructor Jeff Brower is spearheading an effort for the College to reuse BSU’s old metal lockers.  Once removed from the locker rooms, NTC will install them for student use in its new Center for Sustainable Environmental Technologies.

Once the new lockers are completed, the BSU painting staff will stain them and, with the help of the BSU football team and coaching staff, the lockers then will be moved into the locker rooms and installed by BSU maintenance staff.

The new open floor plan will allow for coaches to use the space for teaching and gathering players, while supplying members of the team a comfortable place to study, relax and use as their home away from home.

The project is well underway. Removal of the old lockers has already taken place and a number of the new lockers are assembled. According to Tesch, the locker room is planned to be completed this summer and will be ready for the team to move into in mid-August.

For more information about the collaboration or to view the progress, please contact: Brad Folkestad, Bemidji State University Director of Athletics Media Relations ([email protected]) or Andy Bartlett, Associate Director of Communications & Marketing ([email protected]) at BSU and NTC.