Multiple speakers stood in the shadow of different pieces of equipment that will be worked on by students at the North Dakota State College of Science Diesel Technology Program during a opening ceremony to Bisek Hall in Wahpeton Friday.
The ceremony, led by NDSCS President John Richman, opened the event by commemorating the opening of the new addition to Bisek Hall. It brings the total space dedicated to the diesel technology training program to nearly 125,000 square feet. The addition itself was 65,000 square feet.
“The diesel program has been training students for over 60 years, for North Dakota and this region,” Richman said. “In order to meet the high demand and workforce needs in the diesel industry, and to retain what I believe is the No. 1 diesel technology program in the world, in order to do so, this facility was a must.”
Richman added that “this expansion will increase our capability, and in other words, increase our enrollment. This building also increases our capabilities and our curriculum, this facility will move a world class program into the next century.”
Guest speaker, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, said he was honored to be at NDSCS and be included in the moment.
“The state of the art classrooms and labs, high tech systems, these are providing a skilled labor force to our state, which is more needed than it ever has in our history,” Dalrymple said. “It creates great opportunity for our people and a great economic result, it creates not just jobs, but great careers.”
In an interview after the ceremonies, Dalrymple described how the addition started to come to be.
“In the summer of 2010, there was a legislative tour of NDSCS, and President Richman and others began to bring up their vision of expansion of the diesel technology training program,” Dalrymple explained. “The legislators felt it was a very sound idea, especially in light of the explosion of the oil sector. They began to talk about it, and once I took the office of governor in fall of 2010, I included it in my executive budget recommendation.
“It came more from the legislators and the governor’s office,” Dalrymple said. “I feel good that people heard the message and responded to it. I’d like to think that’s how our government is suppose to work.”
During other speeches at the ceremony, legislators from North Dakota echoed Gov. Dalrymple’s comments on how the government worked to get the addition done.
“Things like this don’t just happen, it was a collaborative effort with the governor and the North Dakota Legislature,” said District 25 Rep. John Wall. “Government can be proactive, this building is proof.”
Kirsten Diederich, State Board of Higher Education chair, said that “when North Dakotans work together, we can do some fantastic things.”
The expansion onto Bisek Hall was made possible through a $10.3 million investment by the state of North Dakota. The original building was built in 1974 and was officially named Bisek Hall in 1991. The school was titled after Harvey L. Bisek, an instructor of mechanical and electrical trades and diesel maintenance at NDSCS.The history of the building and the program itself was discussed by NDSCS Diesel Technology Department Chair Terry Marohl. During his comments, Marohl talked about how the program is forever indebted to members of the past faculty at the diesel department who built the program into what it is today.
No matter who spoke, every comment included glowing reviews of the new facility.
“When you walk through this building, you see the ‘wow’ factor,” Richman said.
“What a great moment this is today. If you look at this facility, you’ll know why,” said District 25 Sen. Larry Luick.
“Know that you’re the envy of the nation as you have one of the finest diesel programs in the United States,” Wall said.
“A new facility like Bisek Hall is a symbol of the incredible amount of opportunities that exist for our people in North Dakota,” Dalrymple said. “We all feel so good about this facility, because we know that every student who completes this program is headed for a great career.
“We will look back in history and say that this is the moment that this campus launched itself into a new era,” Dalrymple said.