Hands-on experience is often among the most effective ways to learn something, and a dozen local college students are getting exactly that kind of opportunity this fall in the midst of a big renovation and relocation project right on campus.
The second-year electrician students at the Jackson campus of Minnesota West Community & Technical College usually participate in hands-on labs as part of their training, but this fall that work is not just for practice.
An extensive reshuffling of spaces around the hub of the campus is providing numerous opportunities for real-life situations where the electrician students can not only learn but also take pride in their work.
“It’s the best lab experience possible right here,” said instructor Rob Arp.
Among the tasks are running low-volt communication wiring and installing power and lighting. Campuswide, students are getting an upgraded student center, better positioned bookstore, information technology department that’s closer to the commons and new entry for The Fringe. As students walk in from the main entrance, the new bookstore will showcase its offerings through new window displays on the right.
Then, heading north along the edge of the commons, they will have access to the new student center, a destination for activities, meetings, games and hanging out. Just past the student center will be the relocated information technology department lab and classroom.
Adjacent to that is the newly remanaged Sunshine Foods Deli at Minnesota West on the north side of the commons.
Opposite the food service, on the south side of the commons, the former bookstore location will eventually become the new reception for the cosmetology department’s student-run salon.
The college is also getting a renovated and relocated storeroom and receiving area.
In all, the under-way projects are nearing completion, thanks in part to electrician students as well as professional contractors.
The students do the bulk of their work on lab days — Monday mornings and all day Wednesdays. “Most have been working for a contractor the past summer or two, so some have quite a bit of experience already,” Arp said.
And helping renovate their own college campus will further their skills for future employment.
By: Ryan Brinks, News Editor
Jackson County Pilot - Lakefield Standard