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Programs

A winning partnership for construction management department and campus Facilities

April 20, 2010

A new partnership formed between the construction management department and CSU Facilities Management has resulted in a new course and hands-on experience for students. Last summer, CON 351 students piloted the new course and built a structure that is now being used by the Colorado State Forest Service at the University's Foothills Campus.

Building something people can use

As a result of a new partnership, students built a structure on the Foothills Campus during a construction management course last summer.

Several semesters ago, construction management instructor Kevin Jones started teaching CON 351, which replaced the lab section of CON 151 Construction Materials and Methods. The objective: To give students practical experience in all phases of construction; from planning, designing, and estimating to scheduling, staffing, managing, and building an actual structure.

Previously, at semester’s end, students deconstructed a structure they’d built in a laboratory. They often asked Jones, “Why can’t we build something practical that people can use?”

Campus benefits

A new partnership formed between the construction management department and CSU Facilities Management enabled CON 351 students to do just that. Last summer, students piloted the new course and built a structure that is now being used by the Colorado State Forest Service at the University’s Foothills Campus.

Before the class began, managers in Facilities Management provided Jones with a working set of plans, and Jones and two students did the layout and elevations and procured the materials. On the first day of the four-week class, Jones showed students the layout, schedule, and estimates.

“We went over how we got to where we were before the class started, so they could better understand the administrative part,” says Jones.

Hands-on, practical

Facilities Management had arranged for a concrete contractor to do the pour on the second day of class, so students could observe. Then they went to work building 10 8-by-12 foot walls, which they loaded on a truck, took to the job site, and raised.

From that point on, the class took place at the job site where all 15 students worked on the structure each day. The experience involved the building of a 336-square-foot structure with a parapet roof system and rough framing and exterior walls that allow the owner to install additional windows if desired.

“This unit was built to be interconnected with another to create a series of buildings that can be used as offices or for storage,” says Jones.

“The unit has a canopy that creates a breezeway when it’s installed next to another structure.” 

Students completed most of the work during their four weeks, and Facilities performed the final work on the unit.

Forest Service very pleased

“The project was a great learning experience for the students,” says Per Hogestad, assistant director of Facilities Management, “and the Forest Service is very pleased to have the extra storage.”

Jones was excited to see the level of student enthusiasm and cooperation.

“They got in there each day, and they worked together,” he says. “The gratification they got out of it was overwhelming. Now they can look at the building and say, ‘Hey, I was a part of that,’ and as an instructor, it made me feel that I was doing something that made a difference.”

Originally published in the Department of Construction Management CM Magazine, Fall 2009.