$1M in planning dollars will allow LSC to begin the process of relocating, expanding and enhancing the Integrated Manufacturing program to continue to help meet regional workforce needs.

manufacturing classroom
The current downtown facility is at maximum capacity, with equipment spaced out best it can be.
students learn about program at meeting
The current downtown facility fills up very quickly with current and prospective students.

Lake Superior College Integrated Manufacturing Workforce Labs Predesign

The current manufacturing program at Lake Superior College is offered in a remote, downtown campus. The program has largely outgrown the leased space, which needs renovation and upgrading and poses challenges including transportation, parking, safety and overall access. This project would relocate LSC’s Integrated Manufacturing programs back to LSC’s main campus enhancing the academic program, improving the student services and support, and reducing operating costs – all while ensuring LSC and Duluth continue to be premier manufacturing training destination in the region.

Goal: Move the manufacturing programs offered at LSC’s downtown campus back to main campus (Trinity Road) to enhance program with modernized space, better serve students with enhanced connections to support services, housing and other academic and student services programs, relinquish leased space downtown saving at least $165,000 annually on operating costs, recruit and retain increased number of integrated manufacturing students to continue to address regional workforce shortages.

Project Details: Renovate 27,900 of square feet into state-of-the-art manufacturing, welding and electronic labs. Add 12,360 square feet for machine tool lab. By relocating the current downtown manufacturing campus to main campus, we are enhancing the academic experience for students in the program by providing better access to student services such as the library, tutoring and learning center, student life activities, and auxiliary services which are all located on the main campus. With a private-development housing project in the works near campus, this would also help alleviate the transportation and parking issues associated with the downtown campus. This project also locates the manufacturing programs next to related electronics programs paving the way for a new Robotics and Automated Manufacturing program. The project accomplishes all these goals while reducing operating costs. The project will also address the following:

  • Create state-of-the-art labs for machine tool, welding, electronics, civic technologies, and CAD programs
  • Update technology to better meet student and industry needs
  • Relocate LSC’s copy center to allow better management of deliveries
  • Address significant electrical and mechanical deficiencies
  • Save the college budget $165,000 annually

Need: Manufacturing remains a growing industry in Northeast Minnesota. DEED data shows 2.5% job growth since 2010 and expects at least 3% growth in the next five years. Job placement among LSC grads in most manufacturing related programs is at or near 100%. With the increase in workforce demands, LSC has been working closely with industry partners and has increased the marketing, recruitment and overall promotions of these programs and associated career opportunities. Enrollment in manufacturing related programs has been steadily increasing since 2013. As an example, the Intro to Integrated Manufacturing Course went from 18.93 enrolled in the fall of 2018 to 37.33 in the fall of 2019 , an increase of 97.18%.

Adjusting to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, this was a necessary project for LSC, our community and our region’s manufacturing workforce. Now, with social-distancing requirements the need is greater than ever. This project would greatly expand and enhance the manufacturing lab, allowing LSC to continue to recruit, train and retain our region’s manufacturing workforce.

Thank you for your support and advocacy in helping us make Duluth and Lake Superior College the premier manufacturing training destination in the upper Midwest.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Daniel Fanning, Vice President of Advancement and External Relations, daniel.fanning@lsc.edu


Student wearing face shield leans over pieces of metal

The Minnesota House Capital Investment Committee visits L.S.C.
Governor Tim Walz (middle) visited with LSC administrators and instructors after touring campus and seeing firsthand how relocating the manufacturing program to the main campus will benefit students, faculty, support services and regional manufacturing employers.
The Minnesota House Capital Investment Committee visits L.S.C.
The Minnesota House Capital Investment Committee visited Lake Superior College to learn more about LSC’s proposal to relocate, expand and enhance the growing manufacturing program. The bi-partisan committee saw the area of main campus where the manufacturing program would be located, better connecting manufacturing with similar programs and connecting students to support services on main campus including the library, tutoring and learning center, food service and eventually near campus housing.

LSC’s Bonding Project in the News

ALEX KORMANN • alex.kormann@startribune.com
Luke Beise, a machine, tool and technology instructor, taught a CNC milling course to a small group of students in the Lake Superior College integrated manufacturing lab last month in a rented downtown Duluth space.
Lake Superior College is part of the Minnesota State system and has more than 5,000 students. Manufacturing program enrollment grew by 7% in the past year.

Lake Superior College wants to expand and relocate its manufacturing campus after years of leasing a downtown facility it says it has outgrown. It is asking the state to invest up to $14 million to make that happen.

“There’s an incredible need,” said Ian Vincent, senior business developer with Duluth-based business booster APEX. “Local placement of students is our utmost priority, and we think it should be the region’s priority.”

Gov. Tim Walz is backing the proposal with about a $1 million bonding request at the Legislature this year to help plan the project. It is expected to cost $12 million to $14 million in state money and take several years to complete.

“Every student that wants to work can have a job — while they’re going to school,” said LSC instructor Max Udovich, of the 100% job placement rate that most students in the manufacturing program experience.

About 28,000 square feet of space would be renovated and more than 12,000 square feet added for advanced manufacturing, welding, electronic labs and machining. The new space will be better connected to related classes and campus resources — including new on-campus housing, also in the works — and save $165,000 a year, according to Daniel Fanning, vice president for institutional advancement and external relations for Lake Superior College. It will also give the programs room to grow. “The introductory class has doubled in size in the past year,” Fanning said. “To me, that’s pretty symbolic of the future.”

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Governor Tim Walz joined administrators and faculty members on a tour of Lake Superior College to discuss the bonding proposal which would relocate and expand LSC’s manufacturing program.

“We’ve currently been leasing space downtown which has worked really great. It’s great to have that connectivity to downtown, but at the same time, we’re starting to outgrow that space and this is also a good opportunity to connect those students to the amenities that we have on our main campus,” Daniel Fanning, Director of External Relations at Lake Superior College said.

“I, as an instructor and someone who has a daughter just starting college, I would want them to be mixed into the life that’s going around, mixed into this world of ideas because that’s the real benefit that comes with this,” Governor Walz said of relocating LSC’s manufacturing campus back to main campus.

“There’s a lot of buzz around manufacturing right now and we’re so lucky to have partners here in Duluth and throughout the community and throughout the region really so the more we can do to continue to support them and to provide that talented workforce to them, the better our economy can continue to grow,” Fanning said.

Governor Walz too, emphasized the role manufacturing plays in Minnesota’s economy—describing it as one of the state’s best kept secrets.

“Duluth speaks with a lot of voice in the state legislature mainly because this is a very important part of Minnesota’s economy and manufacturing is at the heart of it,” Walz said. “When something is made here and shipped to other parts of the world, I think people understand economics well enough to know that, that’s a good thing—that’s job creation here.” Lake Superior College says that manufacturing has grown increasingly more popular over time and that this renovation would help aid them in keeping up with growing enrollment rates. Additionally, Lake Superior College says that much of their older buildings need renovations as is, therefore, this project would fulfill that purpose as well.

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