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M State students impacting DL community

Students in the architectural technology and civil engineering technology two-year programs at M State on the Detroit Lakes campus are getting real life experiences through student learning projects.

Randy Roberts, instructor and advisor for the architectural technology program and his students have been engaged in a project for the Compassion House, a men's homeless shelter and a thrift store in Detroit Lakes.  

The students are involved in measuring existing buildings, creating plans and developing design options for the organization to review.  They are currently creating the architectural drawings and providing cost estimates for the Compassion House.

Additionally, students created computer aided drafting (CAD) drawings for use by the organization for their presentations, marketing and promotional events to the community and potential donors.

In collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and SRF, a traffic consulting firm out of Minneapolis, civil engineering technology students, led by instructor and advisor, Gary Nansen, recently completed an origin destination (OD) study. Students surveyed motorists driving into Wadena to determine needs for traffic flow.  

Additional projects completed by civil engineering students were creating CAD drawings for a non-profit organization launching a building project and completing a study to determine best areas to build in relation to soils, wetlands, criteria for square footage and setbacks.

Students also completed drawings for rebuilding a house that had been destroyed by the tornado in Wadena.

The learning projects provide opportunities for students to get involved and have hands-on experience beyond textbooks.

Services are offered free to organizations with limited budgets.  

For more information call 218-846-3700 or visit