OTC instructor Rene Wade is giving her structural design students a real-world look at the drafting and design process this semester. Each week, the group visits the construction site of the new MHC Diesel Technician Training Center at the OTC Springfield Campus. The field trip – just several hundred feet away from their classroom in the Industry and Transportation Technology Center – allows students to meet with contractors, discuss the work being done, and ask questions about the project.
Rene says the collaboration with the project’s contractor, Snyder Construction Group, gives her students the unique opportunity to see a drafter’s drawings come to life.
“My course covers the design and detailing of structural steel projects just like the new MHC Diesel Technician Training Center,” she explained. “Over the years, I’ve found that most of my students are not familiar with this type of construction. But now, these students get to see a structural design project in action.”
Clint Weems, a first-year student in the drafting and design program, said he appreciates the hands-on nature of Rene’s class. Once Clint graduates from the program, he plans to get a job in the field and pursue an engineering degree.
“I used to work in construction, but I’ve always been really interested in designing things, so here I am,” he explained. “I’ve enjoyed asking the contractors questions about this project. It’s neat to compare what I see onsite to the blueprints back in the lab.”
At the group’s most-recent visit, the construction workers were laying rebar – or reinforcing bar – to strengthen and aid the concrete under tension. John Linder, the project’s superintendent, explained once the concrete was poured, the workers would release thousands of pounds of pressure on the concrete with a jack to test its durability.
Despite the fact that the project sustained several delays due to weather, John said he and his crew were still running ahead of schedule. The MHC Diesel Technician Training Center is set to be complete in December 2018. It will open to students the following year. OTC named the center after Murphy Hoffman Company, a lead supporter of the capital project.