A Tiny House Dream Come True: Multi-year BSU Project Nears Completion

Bemidji State University has partnered with community investors on a multi-year project to design, build and, eventually, sell a “tiny house.” A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at Bemidji State on Earth Day 2019 to celebrate the nearly-completed project and the many students who were involved in its construction.

The project started in the Fall of 2016 when School of Technology, Art and Design (TAD) students taking classes with Tim Brockman, professor of TAD, and David Towley, assistant professor of TAD, were tasked with developing design concepts for a tiny house.

Sachel Josefson, associate professor of technology, art and design, said the project was a unique collaborative project led by TAD.

“The work to manage, design, construct and market this project was all done by BSU students and facilitated by a number of different offices and departments across campus,” he said.

To bring this project from an idea to a reality, design concepts for the house were produced by students in Josefson’s Building Systems course, and the project was coordinated by Applied Project Management students taught by Dave Towley, assistant professor of technology, art & design. BSU’s Sustainability Office, along with Anna Carlson, assistant professor of Environmental Studies, were also consulted throughout the design process to ensure the tiny house and the building process would be environmentally friendly.

The tiny house was built by students enrolled in TAD’s Built Environment course under the guidance of Brockman. The course focuses on the technology used to create a man-made environment. After surveying BSU alumni to gather feedback on amenities, the building crew installed energy efficient Integrity windows and doors donated by The Marvin Family of Brands and structural insulated panels (SIPs) donated by Extreme Panel Technologies.

Energy-efficient windows will reduce utility bills and SIPs, used in the tiny house’s floor, walls, and ceilings, will also save home-owners approximately 50-60% on heating and cooling costs.

Other tools, materials and funding came from the Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, Dick’s Plumbing and Heating, SCR, Inc., Done Right Drywall, LLC, Sherwin-Williams Store, Potlatch Corporation, Superior Woodworkers, Simonson Design, Bemidji Welder Supplies, Inc., Milwaukee Tools, Acme Tools, Frizzell Furniture Gallery, BSU Alumni Association, Twin Cities Discount Granite, Pleasureland RV Center – Brainerd, Kraus-Anderson Construction Company, Northwoods Lumber, LaPier Shoreline & Outdoors and Sterling Carpet One.

In addition to the donation of building materials, numerous industry partners committed their time and expertise to the design and building of the BSU Tiny House. Three-Dimensional renderings were provided by Simonson Design and rough-in wiring for a traditional 120-volt AC system as well as a 12-volt DC system were installed by Frontier Electric. These features allow the tiny house to accept on-the-grid power, however it is also equipped for off-the-grid living using roof-top solar panels.

Students in Marketing Research and Marketing Management classes taught by Dr. Kelly La Venture, assistant professor of business administration, assembled a marketing plan to promote the house and its eventual sale, with Josefson and Mike Mulry, director of corporate relations & strategic partnerships, serving as mock-clients.

The TAD school hopes this project will set the stage for an annual tiny house program that will provide its students with a hands-on, collaborative and co-curricular learning experience.

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MN State logoBemidji State University, located amid the lakes and forests of northern Minnesota, occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Enrolling more than 5,100 students, Bemidji State offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and eight graduate degrees encompassing arts, sciences and select professional programs. BSU is a member of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities and has a faculty and staff of more than 550. The university’s Shared Fundamental Values include environmental stewardship, civic engagement and international and multicultural understanding. For more, visit bemidjistate.edu or find us at BemidjiState on most of your favorite social media networks.

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