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Get Your Hands on Your Future
A group of University of Wisconsin-Stout students who spent hundreds of hours on a project for local law enforcement officers are being lauded as straight shooters when it comes to their work ethic.
“They were patient and dedicated and worked in some really inclement weather. They were really easy to work with,” said Menomonie Police Sgt. Jason Barneson.
Barneson collaborated with members of the Student Construction Association at UW-Stout last fall and into the winter. Students built two new buildings on the police firing range, which is next to the city landfill on Gilbert Road.
From October to December, about 10 SCA students constructed a 20-by-40-foot building that police will use for classroom-style and situation training and a 14-by-30-foot storage building on the approximately three-acre range.
The larger building features a covered front entryway, large overhead door in the front and a side door.
The new structures replaced several dilapidated buildings, which consisted of old Quonset huts used at UW-Stout after World War II. The range has existed for about 40 years, Barneson said.
The range also is used for training by officers from the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department and University Police.
The SCA is a nonprofit student club that undertakes a major project each spring and fall. The club provides students in the undergraduate construction program with hands-on learning opportunities in exchange for a donation.
“We had a few bids. This was a huge cost savings,” Barneson said.
SCA students and their adviser met with Barneson recently to formally turn over the buildings to the police.
“This is one of our better projects in years,” said Rick Larrabee, assistant professor and SCA adviser, who periodically inspected students’ work on the project. “It stretched the students and their level of commitment.”
After design work was done by Cedar Corp. and concrete slabs were poured by the city, students did all the wood framing and building, including the sheet metal exterior and metal roof.
Students did not do the electrical work, and there is no plumbing in either building.
“We picked up a lot of experience with metal, which we didn’t have before,” said SCA member Jimmy Soderberg, of Plymouth, Minn. “Metal is more unforgiving. If you make a mistake it’s harder to correct.”
Soderberg and two other students put in the bulk of the estimated 600 hours of labor that went into the buildings. The others are Nick Binder, of New Berlin, and Tanner Dufresne, of White Bear Lake, Minn. Dufresne is SCA project coordinator.
“It’s definitely a source of pride. The police are very appreciative of it,” Soderberg said.
With the police range buildings finished, SCA club members recently built a 3,100-square-foot loft on a barn north of Menomonie for their spring semester project.
Barneson, firearms coordinator for Menomonie police, expects the various local law enforcement agencies to begin using the new buildings soon.
“We were looking to expand our training facility, so that’s why we needed new buildings. This gives us a classroom where we can do more hands-on training. We can incorporate defense tactics training in the building, such as ground fighting and handcuffing. I’m excited to get going with training,” Barneson said.
For more information on the UW-Stout construction program, click here.