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Engineering Students Take a Peek At EERB Construction

November 17, 2017
Group of students in construction gear walk into a site
Students in the Introduction to Construction Management course tour the EERB work site.

Hands-on education allowed a group of more than 30 undergraduate students in the College of Engineering and Applied Science to receive an in-depth look at the Engineering Education and Research Building construction progress last week.

Matt Newman, a professor of practice in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering, organized the Nov. 10 field trip for his course, Introduction to Construction Management.

The students received a hosted tour of the construction site and were able to see the building go up in real time. Construction began on the site Oct. 17, 2016 and will be complete in summer 2019. The construction manager and general contractor is GE Johnson, while the design firms involved in the project include ZGF Architects, Malone Belton Abel and GSG Architecture.

Attendees then had the opportunity to visit the site operations center and participate in a question-and-answer session with the construction manager and project engineer. Department head Tony Denzer accompanied the students on the tour.

“We love getting students out of the classroom and getting some mud on their boots,” he says. “Nothing beats a real-world experience, and a chance to interact with professionals in the building industry.

“The new Engineering Building is going to be a state-of-the-art facility. GE Johnson is working at the cutting edge right now. I’m so impressed with the work they’re doing, and how willing they are to open the site to our students. You can’t learn this stuff from a textbook.”

Tess McCabe, the president of the UW Joint Engineering Council and vice president of the UW chapter of Society of Women Engineers, was one of the students who took the EERB tour. She is a senior who studies architectural engineering and has a career goal to work on historic buildings.

“I think the tour was quite beneficial,” she says. “As students, we can sometimes get lost in the weeds and not see how what we're studying can be applied specifically on a building. Going on tours like this really helps to get some perspective on that.

“The most useful part of the activity to me was simply walking around the site. I'm a visual learner and seeing things that I've learned about in my classes in an actual building always helps me really get it. It's one thing to design a beam in my concrete class, but seeing them on the site is really beneficial.”

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