Column: ‘New’ Southeast Tech will serve everyone betterAs we begin the new year it is my pleasure to talk about a very exciting happening at Southeast Tech.
By: By Jim Johnson, Winona, president of Southeast Tech, The Republican Eagle
As we begin the new year it is my pleasure to talk about a very exciting happening at Southeast Tech.
If you haven’t driven by or been on campus over the last six months, you are missing our wonderfully renewed building designed to better serve the Red Wing community constituents. The $4.8 million, state funded, remodeling project is nearing conclusion and the transformation of the campus is dramatic.
This project was designed to upgrade, retro-fit and modernize a 35-year-old facility to better serve students, support staff, faculty, programs and the community, in an era much different than 1972, when the original building was designed and built.
The major areas impacted by this extensive remodeling are a dramatic new college entryway and sign; expanded kitchen facilities; new learning resource area; new student and custom services area; refurbished student commons; refurbished and expanded musical instrument repair facilities; and reconfigured nursing, massage therapy and carpentry program areas.
Along with these significant improvements to the campus, extensive replacement and improvements to the heating, ventilation, and technology components have also been completed.
This remodeling project had its beginnings over eight years ago in the laboriously slow legislative process, as the project had to compete on its merits for bonding dollars against over 150 other projects from across Minnesota. It took six legislative sessions for Southeast Tech’s project to be approved for funding and another six months for design and bid approvals before construction began in May of 2007.
The project would not have been a reality if it had not been for the hard work of our local legislators Jerry Dempsey, Steve Sviggum and Steve Murphy. Our college owes a great debt of gratitude for their tireless support over the long process. We also owe a great debt to the local contractors led by Lund Marin for their diligence and ability to work around a fully functioning college and staff over the last seven months.
While we are almost fully functional at this time and working diligently to put the last pieces in place, we are open for business and have been throughout the project. Staff, student, faculty and even community members have had to adjust and put up with a lot of dust, noise, heat, humidity and a variety of other inconveniences ... and my thanks and appreciation goes out to all of you. I truly feel the wait and inconveniences have been worth it and what will be accomplished within these modernized walls will be dramatic and breathtaking.
So, we have a tentative date set to celebrate the project completion and will have an open house and official ribbon cutting on Sunday April 20. We have yet to peg the hours of the open house, but our planning committee is beginning to design the day and we will be forthcoming with details shortly.
I would like to personally invite all of you to the April open house but if you’re not able to attend, please stop by anytime to walk our halls and see the wonderful improvements to the college on the hill. Please stop by as the front entrance and parking lot are now open for use. Hope to see you soon.