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Architectural vision begins taking shape | News, Sports, Jobs

JillSchramm/MDN Architecture students from North Dakota State University gather at The Depot Monday for a media briefing following a tour of downtown and meetings with community stakeholders.

Sixteen architecture students from North Dakota State University in Fargo spent two days exploring downtown Minot and meeting with community stakeholders as they began to reinvent the heart of the city.

Kevin Black, a downtown business and real estate owner and member of the State Board of Higher Education, led the community’s invitation to the students after seeing the master plan that former NDSU architecture students had completed for Medora.

“It was phenomenal work and we can’t wait to see what you bring to our community.” he told students Monday at a media briefing announcing the project.

Architecture student Sofia Naranjo Mata said she and her classmates would bring fresh eyes to downtown.

“We are so excited to have this great opportunity. I can say that not many architecture students get the opportunity to work on a project that impacts real people and it’s very exciting to be able to work with people who are so passionate about something.” She said. “We are happy to live up to the passion.”

Despite the cold temperatures, the students walked the downtown streets to see the various sights. They visited with representatives from the Minot Area Council of the Arts, the Minot Park District, the City of Minot, Minot State University, the Minot Area Chamber EDC, business leaders and others.

“We saw a lot of hope” said Kristi Hanson, associate professor of architecture at NDSU. “We saw a lot of passion, and I think it inspired us all to do something amazing.”

She said the students will do more research and analysis as they prepare to get into the creative process once they return to Fargo. She said that architects try to solve problems.

“When we solve problems with architecture, it’s not just a building or a place, it’s talking about who we want to be as a community and how we see ourselves.” said Hanson. “The question we hope to be able to answer for you in this process is, ‘Who wants to be Minot? Who wants to be downtown Minot? I think what we saw together was opportunity.”

The students’ work over the next three months will culminate in a presentation on May 3 at 1:30 p.m. at Gate City Bank’s Swiontek Center.

“The beauty of this project is that it gives people ideas that they probably wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.” said Hanson. She said the master plan created for Medora has resulted in this community moving forward with four of the five projects proposed by the students.

Minot Mayor Tom Ross said the students’ efforts would help foster growth and optimism in downtown Minot.

“Your work will have an impact on the city of Minot for years to come,” he said to students. “That inspires me and that inspires the city of Minot.”

All participating students are in their fourth year of a five-year architecture program at NDSU.

“I was totally amazed how quickly they understood what makes Minot so special.” said Black. “At the end of the day, we all want the same thing. We want Minot to be a place that we are proud of and hopefully can keep our own children or grandchildren here – a place where they want to work, live and play.”

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