BY: CURTIS ZOLLER, ASSOCIATE DEAN OF AEROSPACE & AGRICULTURE
Northland Community & Technical College has a long tradition of training highly talented aviation mechanics in Thief River Falls that have worked across the globe in all aspects of the aviation industry. In order to continue training the most talented aviation mechanics, manned and unmanned, we needed to revamp and modernize our facilities for our student’s sake. NCTC recently finished up an 18,760 square-foot remodeling project at the Aerospace Site that created an ultra-modern learning environment for students of our aerospace programs.
The new facility located at the Thief River Falls Airport will serve as a state-of-art training facility for our aerospace programs: aviation maintenance, unmanned aerial systems maintenance, geospatial intelligence and customized training. Included in the facility are new labs focused on non-metallic structure and composites, electronics and avionics, and a new hangar that has been designed with specialized considerations for housing and operating unmanned aerial systems. The new hangar space will enhance NCTC’s capabilities and allow for upcoming partnerships with industry. New partnerships could include dual operations and training that will further establish Northland Aerospace training programs as a unique resource for the region.
One of the primary goals of the project was to create an advanced learning experience for our students. NCTC partnered with several subject matter experts in the fields of distance education and advanced technology to firmly exceed the projects initial expectations. With the growth of online learning possibilities, we want to make sure that we can meet and train students where they are at and this will enable us to do it much more efficiently.
Two new technology enabled learning spaces are also included in the remodeling project. These spaces will allow NCTC to greatly expand our learning capabilities across the region. Using a combination of learning methodologies, Northland aims to serve students and industry partners alike in one advanced co-learning environment.
NCTC is looking forward to hosting a Grand Opening at the Aerospace Site in September to showcase what the remodel means to the NCTC, the community, and the region as a whole. Look for more information on this event in the upcoming weeks and at the UAS Summit in Grand Forks, ND on Aug. 22-24, 2016.