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BSC Student Team Wins Regional Steel Bridge Competition and Qualifies for National Championship

  • Created
    Tuesday, April 09 2013
  • Created by
    Jim Nelson/Media Relations - (304) 327-4103

steel bridge winners
Members of the Bluefield State College American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) student chapter are pictured moments after they won the Virginia ASCE "National Student Steel Bridge Competition (NSSBC) regional championship at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Pictured (left-to-right) are Kerry Stauffer (Faculty Advisor), Andrew Maynor, Austin Harris, Alex Quesinberry, Todd Atkins, Matt Halsey, Kyle Bowling, Adam Cline, Logan Copenhaver, and Amber Fitzgerald. (not pictured—T.J. Knight).

(Bluefield)—A Bluefield State College student team won the Virginia's American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Conference "National Student Steel Bridge Competition (NSSBC) regional championship at Howard University in Washington, D.C. As a result, the BSC ASCE Steel Bridge Team will advance to the 2013 National Student Steel Bridge Championship, May 31 in Seattle, WA.

The BSC student team competed against teams from Virginia Tech, West Virginia University, VMI, the University of Virginia, George Washington University, Marshall University, Old Dominion University, Catholic University, George Mason University, WVU-Tech, and Howard University.

During the fall semester, NSSBC student teams obtain a set of well-defined rules and specifications concerning every aspect of bridge design and construction. Over the following months, the teams design and fabricate their steel bridge. The actual competition involves construction and load-testing of the bridge. Teams are judged based on compliance to specifications, construction time, weight, stiffness (i.e., resistance of movement in response to horizontal and vertical loads), and aesthetics.

The BSC ASCE bridge team constructed their bridge in less than 28 minutes. The bridge was tested with a 2500-pound load and deflected less than a half-inch at any point.

"The steel bridge competition provides students with an excellent project that conveys 'real world'
principles into a student competition," noted Kerry Stauffer, BSC ASCE Faculty Advisor and Associate Professor of Civil Engineering Technology. "They are excited about competing and, in the process, they learn about meeting specifications, time constraints, design considerations, budget limitations, and teamwork."

Members of the BSC ASCE steel bridge team included Todd Atkins (Captain), Austin Harris, Adam Cline, Kyle Bowling, Logan Copenhaver, Alex Quesinberry, and Andrew Maynor. BSC students T.J. Knight and Matt Halsey also assisted with fabrication and served as alternate members of the construction team.

BSC team captain Todd Atkins reflected on the team's regional title. "When I think about what we accomplished, I realize how well our team worked together. The competition was a great experience for all of us."

Adkins' teammate, Austin Harris, added, "We worked on the bridge for eight months and there were times when we wondered if it would ever be finished. When we won first place at the regionals, it was very gratifying. Our success was directly related to the amount of time and work we invested in the project."

"I am very proud of our students and their overall performance in the steel bridge competition," Stauffer continued. "They worked very hard on this bridge and their effort was evident at the competition. Several spectators and even some students and faculty from competing universities commented to me about the bridge design, how well our construction team worked together, and their overall poise and composure during the timed competition. The results of this competition show what students from Bluefield State College can accomplish and how they can compete with larger institutions,"

Individuals and organizations wishing to help the BSC ASCE steel bridge team with costs associated with their trip to the national championship can make donations, made payable to the Bluefield State College Foundation, with the notation "BSC ASCE Student Steel Bridge Team" on the check. Donations can be mailed to the BSC Foundation, 219 Rock St., Bluefield, WV 24701. Donations are tax-deductible.