Winona State tests their "floating classroom" - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Winona State tests their "floating classroom"

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW)—It was an exciting day for Winona State University as their newest classroom makes it one step closer to setting sail.

Thanks to the Cal Fremling Floating Interpretive Center, students of every age will be able to develop a better understanding of the Mississippi river through their studies.

At the SkipperLiner Marina in La Crosse Thursday, the U.S. Coast Guard tested the safety of the vessel.

This included placing 450 lb barrels of water throughout the boat to simulate passengers.

If successful, the boat does not sink or tip. After passing this test, the Cal Fremling headed to out on the river for what's known as sea trials.

This unconventional classroom was inspired by Doctor Calvin Fremling, a Winona State professor, scientist, and river enthusiast.

Although Fremling passed away in 2010, the boat carries on his great passion of biology and curiosity of the Mississippi through an interactive classroom setting.

Those who knew Fremling say the boat's name could not be more fitting.

"When Cal died, we thought it was a fitting tribute to his career that this boat be named in his honor,” says retired WSU Professor James Reynolds.

The official christening of the Cal Fremling is on June 6 at Levee Park in Winona. The public can tour the boat and participate in activities with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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