Woman helps brand DCC one project at a time

Brendan Heidner
Sunday, December 1, 2019
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Denise Mittlestaed works on a new mural on a wall of the auditorium at the Dawson Community College Toepke Center recently. Mittlestaed has been working on spiffing up around campus with simple touches like new paint and fun murals.

“I think atmosphere makes a big difference in things.”

People take notice if a school does not have its colors, logos, and pride plastered all over its facilities.

When the Toepke Center at Dawson Community College opened its doors in 2006, nothing really associated it with DCC other than its location. It housed the new Buccaneer gym and performing arts center, but no school colors, logos or anything. It stayed that way for the next decade until one person saw a need and wanted to fill it

Denise Mittlestaed began working in the campus bookstore in 2016. She had some ideas for the bookstore to add curb appeal to those passing by or browsing the store. The atmosphere around people can affect their mood and perception of their surroundings, and Mittlestaed understood this and wanted to do something about it.

“For me personally, if my surroundings are kind of blah then my attitude is kind of blah,” she said.

The first project Mittlestaed tackled was a an awkwardly large desk used for ticket sales and other special occasions. Like the Toepke Center itself, it did not appeal to the eye. She said it was also difficult to move due to its size. She had an idea though to make it better.

“I had some old reclaimed lumber and I’m like, ‘can I tear that desk apart and revamp it?’” she said.

Not only does the desk now look like it came from a real buccaneer’s ship, it is also smaller and easier to maneuver. A comment from the president’s assistant, Randi Johnson, illustrates what others see in Mittlestaed’s work.

“Her work shows an attention to detail,” Johnson said.

That was just the beginning. Over the past few years, Mittlestaed has continued to beautify the campus through painting, landscaping, display cases, and numerous other projects.

“I think it’s been amazing what she’s done,” Athletic Director, Joe Peterson, said.

The beautifications are nice for the Glendive community and current staff and students at DCC, but Peterson went on to say how valuable it is for non-locals as well.

While a nice facility before, it did not look much like an athletic facility before Mittlestaed came on. It is important for a school such as DCC to display the correct colors and logos around.

“It’s not just for our current athletes, but it also helps in our recruiting efforts . . . It makes a difference when they walk into a facility and they see the logo and they see the colors and they see the beauty,” Peterson said.

Along with the additions of school pride, landscaping and other display projects have been done inside and outside of all campus buildings. Glendive Landscaping has donated many items for Mittlestaed to use to beautify the campus’ exterior.

As for display projects, there are more in the works. Mittlestaed is trying to set up for the DCHS shop class to possibly come in and help with new displays for DCC.

“It’s not just Denise’s ability to paint something or decorate something, but it’s her mind and her creativity that comes up with some of the ideas on what we can do to improve (DCC),” Peterson said.

With many projects done and many more to come, Mittlestaed’s work continues to catch the eye of visitors and is appreciated and admired by students, staff, and the Glendive community.

“Sometimes you won’t always see all the fruits of the labors that she’s put in, but I guarantee you it makes an impact on all of the prospective students that visit this campus,” Peterson said.

Reach Brendan Heidner at news@rangerreview.com.