News Releases

Horticulture Students Landscaping Proposal Approved for New Dining Center

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Front row left to right: Eric Hildebrand, Dustin Gilseth, Jessica McInnes
Back row left to right: Dr. Jerry Migler, Chris Nero and Keith Knudson
On the screen: Peter Keane, Landscape Design Instructor

With a new building on campus, comes new landscaping. In February of 2022 Dakota College at Bottineau opened an addition to the Knudson Center for dining. This opened a new dining experience for students, faculty, staff, and the community to eat, study and gather with one other. The design of the project will also give the dining center a cement patio area scheduled to be poured this spring.

The Horticulture Department took this landscaping opportunity as a learning project for the practicum students. According to the blueprints, there are roughly 236 square feet to work with. Three students put their minds together and created a beautiful plan for the area. Eric Hildebrand from Brandon, MB; Dustin Gilseth of Langdon, ND, and Jessica McInnes from Minnedosa, MB started working on this project at the beginning of April. They presented their project to Dr. Jerry Migler, Campus Dean; Christopher Nero, Physical Plant Director, and Keith Knudson, Director of the Horticulture Department the beginning of May. “This will be one of the most visible landscaping projects on campus, as it will be seen by everyone who is using the dining center,” states Dr. Migler.

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The students proposed a continuation of the pollinator garden already established on campus, which is close to the new patio area. This will create a “no spray no mow” area. Because this is a continuation of the pollinator garden, the plants are deer and rabbit resistant and are designed for bees, birds, and other pollinators. According to Jessica McInnes, the students want the area to “have a cohesive theme by incorporating plants that already exist at other locations on campus {and} with the certified pollinator garden being the closest existing flowerbed it was a no-brainer.” This will also require little maintenance and “serve as a barrier between the areas of campus that are sprayed with chemicals and heavily mown” states Jessica. Dr. Migler, Chris, and Keith are delighted the students took it upon themselves to incorporate their project with the existing pollinator garden on campus.

There will be a plethora of plants associated with this project. Each student was asked what plant(s) they are most excited about. “I’m a huge fan of the prairie grasses we chose to implement in the design. Karl Foerster and Prairie Dropseed to be specific. The height and movement of these grasses seem to bring the design alive and give it that final touch we all seem to seek,” states Dustin. Eric is most excited about the Arctic Fire Dogwoods. According to him, “it is a perennial shrub that has four season appeal.” The Micro Clover Lawn is what Jessica is most excited about. This lawn will bring important nutrients back to the soil and it will have an inviting green space for individuals to enjoy.

Some might ask how this project will benefit the school and future students. According to Chris Nero, Physical Plant Director, “a beautiful, landscaped area improves the quality of life for our students and it’s great for future students trying to decide where they may go to school.” Not only will it be visually appealing, it is also an area to showcase the on campus Horticulture Department. This project displays the classes applied within the curriculum transferred into real-life experiences they may face in their career plan. “All of our classes are meant to prepare students for real-life situations, and when the landscape project was brought up, I immediately wanted to incorporate it into their studies” states Keith Knudson, Head of the Horticulture Department. All three students stated that their professors and classes did a phenomenal job in preparing them for this project.

This is just the start of landscaping projects for the Horticulture Department. According to Dr. Migler, there will be similar projects in the future. Once renovations have been completed “there will be a need to develop a landscape plan for Old Main and also the new CTE Center in Minot,” states Dr. Migler. These projects are a great learning exercise and give the students “something to be proud of” according to Chris. While Jessica, Dustin, and Eric will not be here when the renovations are complete for Old Main and the new CTE Center, they certainly have something to be proud of for many years to come with the dining center landscape project. “For the future, I have learned to take a step back and look at whatever I’m working on through a bigger lens. Everybody sees certain things differently, so when working on a project like this it can be hard to focus on the little details that you may not notice at first glance” according to Dustin.