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Dakota County Technical College

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I was just wondering what your current routine looks like. I know you have been doing more olympic style lifts for a while and I have always enjoyed the high volume routines you post since they motivate to get myself into the garage (gym).

Apple Valley's first college - a unique effort of three colleges and an Olympic weightlifting facility - will open Wednesday.

"This is the milestone we have been looking for," said Apple Valley city manager Tom Lawell. For city officials, the opening will be all the better because it solves another problem, occupying the abandoned city hall at Cedar Avenue and 142nd Street.

The facility, which still has no formal name, is an enterprise amongst St. Mary's University, Inver Hills Community College and the Dakota County Technical College.

The college won't offer independent four-year degrees. Rather, it is like having branch offices of the three colleges under one roof.

Instead of competing, the colleges will fashion courses that complement each other, said Jim Bedtke, who manages the Twin Cities programs of St. Mary's.

Details are sketchy, but Bedtke said, for example, Inver Hills might offer courses that would be prerequisites to St. Mary's courses.

"We are all dealing with less and less resources," he said. "By collaborating, we can offer more services for less money."

He expects to see the facility offer bachelor's degrees in business, human resources and information technology, among others. Master's programs would be offered in education and human resource management.

There may even be a degree with connections to the regional training center for USA Weightlifting, a kind of feeder program for the Olympics, which is in the same building.

"It wouldn't be a bachelor's in weightlifting," Bedtke said, but perhaps in related areas, such as physical education or health.

"It's a wonderful public-private partnership," said Ron Thomas, president of DCTC. He said the facility would be managed by Nathan Holm, an official of the college.

But why should colleges teach in Apple Valley? Convenience for students.

"The more convenient we make it for people to pursue their higher-education dreams, the better off we are all going to be," said Lawell.

Bedtke said many students will find getting bachelor's and master's degrees in Apple Valley easier than if they had to drive to campuses in Minneapolis or St. Paul. "We are all busier and busier," said Bedtke.

Apple Valley officials cheered the reuse of their old city hall, a one-story, 34-year-old structure that used to house fire and police departments as well as city offices.

The city will lease it to DCTC, and as many as 300 students will take classes in the eight classrooms.

"We are so pleased it's finally happened. We have three partners, for a great variety of classes," said Lawell.

St. Mary's is a Winona-based university that has conducted classes around the state for decades. The university has about 1,300 students in Winona, and about 400 on the Minneapolis campus.

While it will usually teach classes in buildings owned by others, the Apple Valley facility will be an unusual physical presence for the university, said Bedtke.

"We believe in taking programs to the students. The need is there. The interest is there," he said.

The formal ribbon-cutting event for the facility will be July 30.

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