On Friday, Nov. 13, students visited the job site and learned about the construction process from Mark Rivers, senior project manager, and Tom Robert, construction manager, both from U.W. Marx Construction Company.
Students spent half a class block in the classroom, looking at some of the hundreds of pages of blueprints spread out across tables and hearing about the construction process. During the second half of class, they headed across the street to the Center for Advanced Technology @ Mohonasen job site to see how the process is unfolding.
“Construction of the Center for Advanced Technology @ Mohonasen gives students a place to view first-hand the theory, skills and application of what they’re learning in the classroom every day,” said Makensie Bullinger, academic administrator for science and technology. “This in-house field trip was an opportunity for our students to experience the kind of hands-on learning that will take place at the new Center.”
Technology teacher George Reluzco said the experience was an eye-opener for his students. “I’ve been talking since the beginning of the year about all different types of career paths,” he said. “The timing of this visit was perfect, and it ties back into class for the students.”
Robert talked to students about the many intricate details that go into constructing the new Center. For example, crews moved 230 million pounds of dirt to ready the construction site.
“And dirt isn’t just dirt. There are many different type of particles, and the type of dirt determines the type of drainage system engineers design,” Robert told students. “If there are too many fine particles, it’s like clay. Sandy soil is great, because it drains more easily.”
Robert said the soil compaction level – how dense the dirt is after as much water and air as possible have been squeezed out – has to be approved by an independent geotechnical (soil) engineer before construction begins.
“You spend millions of dollars, and everything has to be just right,” said Robert. “It’s all little pieces to the puzzle, but the puzzle is really giant.”
Students were intrigued by the number of blueprints related to the project and excited about opportunities in the new building.
Junior David Hazzard said he’s interested in learning more about computer aided design (CAD), and looks forward to being able to take classes at the Center. “I learned a lot about the process in general, but especially about the details that go into a building,” he said.
“It’s a little overwhelming,” said junior Brandon Moore, who’s interested in engineering. “I have a better idea of how much goes into constructing a building.”
Josh Karg, also a junior, said he liked looking at the blueprints and was impressed by how much of the building has been constructed. “I thought we would only see the frame when we went out to the site,” he said.
Within the month, the building will be wrapped in plastic and heated so that work can continue through the cold weather.
Robert encouraged students to take advantage of learning opportunities in high school.
“There’s so much you can learn, and anything you learn you get to keep. No one can take it back from you,” he said.
The new, approximately 53,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility will house a variety of modern, high-tech labs and classrooms that offer learning experiences in “real-world” work environments. Through a unique partnership between Mohonasen Central School District, Capital Region BOCES and Schenectady County Community College (SCCC), the Center will offer classes to high school, college and workforce development students.
The Center is slated to open in Fall 2016.