FARGO – A lot of what people learn in college is not only in class but also practicing the job themselves, as 16 architecture students at North Dakota State University did creating a virtual model of downtown Minot.
Kristi Hanson, an adjunct professor for the students, directed the project, saying she had directed a similar project for Medora, and several people in Minot, including CEO of Creedence Energy Services Kevin Black, asked for the envisioning process to be done in Minot.
“We took the students at the end of January on a bus trip up to Minot and toured the town,” said Hanson. “It happened to be Minot’s 20 degree temperatures, it was horrible, but we braved the weather and walked around downtown, met with the mayor, met with City leaders.”
The students then asked residents of the Minot Air Force Base residents, Minot businesses, members of Minot State University, the local school districts, and other Minot stakeholders what they are passionate about and what they feel is missing in Minot.
“We took all that information, and on the way back from the trip we sat and talked about what we heard and formulated the types of projects that we thought were important, and then came back and inserted them into the map of where we thought they could go,” said Hanson. “Then from there the students actually created the project.”
For the project, these four-year students met three days a week for about four hours a day, though Hanson said she knows they worked many more hours than that.
Hanson said green space was a want that she and the students heard over and over again, so the virtual presentation shows much of that.
Hotels, an event center, and a grocery store downtown were also some main points that the students integrated into the presentation.
Another question the students asked was what would be done with the vacated Trinity Hospital building.
“What we heard from Minot State and Bottineau was that they needed a space for nursing students to be able to continue their learning,” said Hanson. “One thing that was incredibly successful was when NDSU moved the architecture students to downtown Fargo. It really started a resurgence of vibrancy.”
Another idea for the vacated hospital building was a recreational center.
A couple of the students have lived in Minot for a time of their life, and two are from Williston. Others are from Fargo, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
Though the cost of turning this model into a reality is unknown, City leaders have in the past referenced the model in speaking of upcoming projects.
Though the video presentation is not fully public yet, more information on NDSU architecture can be found here.