A Solid Foundation

Each semester, construction management and building technology students who are enrolled in the required concrete class participate in a project that puts theory to a hands-on test.

“Students are given a model that represents a structure, and they are instructed to build the model out of masonry, following all code and building requirements as illustrated on the drawing,” says Instructor Jesse Ross. “However, this semester I decided to throw the class a curve ball, and I asked them to spell out NMU with the masonry units. As you can see, they rose to the challenge.”  

For most in the department of technology and occupational sciences, this comes as no surprise. The students in NMU’s construction programs are known for creating in teams and taking pride in their finished product. Their faculty set high standards and make learning fun.

By asking his students to apply mandatory curriculum in an inventive way, Ross has helped his class to clinch a fundamental knowledge for introductory masonry.

Throughout the course of the semester, they have combined classroom discussions with lab each week, covering: planning, specifications, formwork, reinforcing, placing/laying, estimating, scheduling and managing the various components in order to deliver a quality product in a safe and economical manner. 

“The end result is not to turn our students into cement finishers or masons,” says Ross, “but rather to give them a hands-on experience necessary to gain a better understanding and appreciation of the men and women that perform this type of work and hopefully add to their “toolbag” of skills.”