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First units ready in new apartment complex at UTTC
27 December 2006

New apartment complex
The new apartment complex at United Tribes Technical College has exterior entrances for each of the 24 apartments.

BISMARCK (UTN) - The push for new housing is showing results at United Tribes Technical College. Some students enrolled for the Spring 2007 Semester will be the first to occupy new apartments built on the campus over the past seven months.

      With classes set to begin January 8, the first half of a new 26,400 square foot apartment complex is ready for tenants. The completed units provide two-bedroom apartments and on-campus living for 12 students and their families.

Cheryl Circle Bear
Cheryl Circle Bear (Oglala) puts finishing touches on the interior of windows.

      It means that new UTTC students, and perhaps some who formerly lived in apartments in Bismarck and Mandan, will have two bedroom digs close to the college cafeteria, post office, security office, transportation stops, day care, elementary school and playgrounds.

      All of the carpentry work and building construction was done by students in college's Construction Technology Program and outside workers, some of whom were previous graduates of the program.

Rocky Stewart and Vance Tasunke Witko
Work continues in unfinished apartments. Student Rocky Stewart (Crow Agency), at left, and former student Vance Tasunke Witko (Cheyenne River) install ceiling sheet rock.

      "I'm really proud of all of them," said Michael Matheny, UTTC's Construction Technology Program director. "We've never had such an enthusiastic group of workers."

      Local consulting and contracting companies assisted, but all of the work was supervised by the Construction Technology Program and the college's department of Student and Campus Services.

      Groundbreaking for the $2.7 million complex took place in early June with a ceremony attended by college leaders and dignitaries. A crew of about two dozen Native American workers labored on the project through extreme weather conditions to bring it in ahead of schedule, said Matheny.

Lori Bear Cub
Lori Bear Cub (Fort Peck) put her hand to finishing kitchen cabinets that were made by students in the college's Skill Center.

      During the month of July, daytime temperatures regularly exceeded 100 degrees. A cold snap in November sent the thermometer below zero and added a sheet of ice to the worksite.

      "This project has worked out really well," said Matheny. "These first units will be about four months ahead of schedule."

      When the second half of the 24 unit complex is complete in February, Matheny says the entire project will be done as much as five months earlier than planned.

Linette Crows Heart
Student Linette Crows Heart (Three Affiliated) drives sheet rock fasteners in an apartment unit that will be ready in February.

      The main source of funding was a $2 million housing tax credit awarded through the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency. Other sources were two grants from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a private sector donation and funds from the college itself.

      With completion of all units, Matheny says the Construction Technology Department will turn its attention toward another building project on the college campus.


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