Advanced Engineering Students Get Inside Look at Campus Construction

Advanced Engineering teacher Dave Collins could not pass up the opportunity to provide his students with a real world learning experience taking place mere paces from their classroom. Partnering with the onsite project manager and project superintendents from EE Reed Construction, the company bringing Episcopal’s two new dorms and the deButts Health & Wellness Center to fruition, Mr. Collins coordinated site visits for multiple sections of the Advanced Engineering class.
As they arrived onsite, the group was ushered into the construction trailer where they learned about the practical applications of theories they have been studying. Understanding how the five fundamental types of loading forces — compression, tension, shear, torsion, and bending — impact not only design but also construction provided important context as they moved into discussions of bearing pressures, foundation work, and point loads. By the time the students donned their neon construction vests and hard hats and headed out to the site, they had a much better grounding in the complexity involved in construction work, and awareness of the myriad environmental forces that engineers and construction workers need to understand and mitigate.
In reflecting on the visit Mr. Collins said, “I appreciate EE Reed for taking the time to speak with my students about the various forces that each of the new buildings will encounter.  During the tour of the construction site, we witnessed engineering practices in action. The students were able to see various phases of the construction process. Walking between the three building sites, we saw the tradespeople pouring 30-foot footers, installing a waterproofing system around the exterior, and fabricating the elevator shafts. Several students were able to ask specific questions of the EE Reed team about the roles of engineers in a large-scale construction project.”
Project manager Tim Sichak, who helped orchestrate and lead the visit, said, “E.E. Reed East Coast is excited to share the construction process with the Episcopal students and staff. We hope that connecting engineering theory and practical construction applications helps each student better understand what they are learning in the classroom. We also believe that it is a great opportunity to show the students what rewarding professional careers are available in the construction industry. As we work to improve the physical environment at Episcopal, assisting in the educational process is a bonus in which we take great pride.”
Plans are currently in the works for another visit to see the progress and to learn more about the interior systems of the buildings.