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Red Wing campus opening applied engineering lab, hosting Maker Space

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MSC Southeast planning to open new applied engineering lab, host Red Wing Maker Space

Travis Thul
Dean of Trade and Technology Travis Thul tours the applied engineering lab at MSC Southeast in Red Wing -- before the installation of a donated CNC machine.

Note: The new Applied Engineering Lab will be open for public tours during Manufacturing Week in Red Wing on October 19 and 20 from 1 to 2 pm. RSVP to the Red Wing Chamber of Commerce at 651-388-4719 or frontdesk@redwingchamber.com if you would like to attend.

In addition to a new name, new mission, and new vision, Minnesota State College Southeast is in the process of developing a new way to use some of its industrial arts and technology resources, including both equipment and lab space.

The college is exploring a partnership with Red Wing Ignite, Red Wing Makers, and the Southeast Perkins IV High Schools Consortium to leverage those resources towards opening a community applied engineering laboratory on the Red Wing campus, to be known as The Maker Space @ MSC Southeast.

"We have an opportunity to offer our community a whole new way to connect with the college," says MSC Southeast President Dr. Dorothy Duran. "By hosting a Maker Space, we can open our doors to local hobbyists, entrepreneurs, industry, artists, high school students, and our own college students who would like to have access to a range of engineering and manufacturing resources." 

Students assemble equipment
Work study students and faculty members join forces to help install new equipment in the Applied Engineering Lab.

The joint venture is in the conceptual phase of development, but a newly re-furbished 2000 square foot lab is already beginning to fill up with equipment. This includes, but isn't limited to, a CNC machine donated by Lockheed Martin and the Department of Defense (valued new at $91,000), a row of CAD/engineering computer workstations, a 3D printer, and power woodworking tools.

"In addition to the equipment we have already acquired, we want to focus on getting laser cutters, water jets, milling capabilities, 3D scanners, and additional 3D printers," says Travis Thul, MSC Southeast Dean of Trade and Technology. "We are still building the space and installing equipment, and there are a lot of logistics to work through."

"Red Wing Makers are excited to find a home at MSC Southeast. This space will foster educational growth and the exchange of ideas and techniques," comments Beau Brewer, a representative of Red Wing Makers. "We can expect outstanding, creative projects to emerge from this commonwealth of skills and ideas."

Brian Cashman, Southeast Perkins IV Consortium - Secondary Grant Coordinator, adds, "Southeast Minnesota has a legacy of business and industry innovation, strong high school and community connections, and a fantastic resource in Minnesota State College Southeast. On behalf of the 22 local school districts represented by the Southeast Perkins Consortium, I am excited to be involved in this partnership."

College lab by day, Maker Space evenings and weekends

During regular school hours the lab and equipment would be used to offer for-credit college classes in CNC, welding, and other applied engineering careers. Plans call for the Maker Space to be available to the community evenings, weekends, and weekdays during non-instructional hours.

"Maker Spaces are vital to growing local economies. They provide needed tools and resources to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into viable products," comments Neela Mollgaard, Executive Director of Red Wing Ignite. "The Red Wing area is very fortunate that Minnesota State College Southeast is forward thinking. Together, the community will make this collaborative initiative a reality!"

"One of our highest priorities in Red Wing this year is to create more technology training programs to meet the area's workforce needs," Dr. Dorothy Duran concludes. "We hope that creating The Maker Space @ MSC Southeast will be the beginning of many new initiatives."


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