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NDSU students develop marina plan for Lake Mitchell

NDSU architecture and landscape architecture students are taking part in a hands-on learning experience that may become a major attraction for the city of Mitchell, South Dakota.

Students from the architecture 789 seminar course taught by Matthew Kirkwood, landscape architecture program director, have developed a proposed marina for the northwest portion of Lake Mitchell.

The project, led by students Samantha Ochs, Mitchell Meyer and Chandler Dick, includes a tiered main building that houses a restaurant in addition to jetty rip rap, a gazebo, fishing deck and fish-cleaning station. The plan also features cabins that sleep four-to-six people, trails, designated bonfire areas and a parking lot.

Kirkwood said the students worked closely with the National Park Service and Nathan Powell, City of Mitchell park and recreation director, as they prepared their plan.

“I wanted students to find out what the community wants, be part of public meetings and to use their skill sets to develop and express a plan,” said Kirkwood, who made contacts for the students and supervised their work. “They put together a video and a booklet about their project. I’m very pleased with what they did – it’s the type of project that takes many hands.”

For the students, it was a real-world experience that prepares them for their future careers as architects and landscape architects.

“One of the biggest things that I learned was how to work with groups of people, not just theoretically but truly work with people on a real project – how to collaborate, how to pull a vision from their head and how to take their vision, expand on it and make it unique,” said Dick, who is a fourth-year architecture student from Devils Lake, North Dakota. “Of all the projects that I have worked on in school, this one may be the most helpful when it comes to preparing me for my career.”

The students’ work was well received by city leaders.

“The design perfectly met the vision set by the community engagement process; we couldn’t be more pleased. It’s exactly what we were looking for,” Powell said. “We plan on moving forward in the near future as funding allows, and we can use this design to seek grants and other funding options to complete the project.”

Powell said the students’ design makes the space usable for everyone in the community, without compromising the natural environment.

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