Middle Tennessee State University officials cut the ribbon on Thursday, Oct. 13 to officially open the new, $40.1 million School of Concrete and Construction Management. Students have just begun using the west side of campus as they prepare for professional careers in a high-demand industry. throughout the Midstate and beyond.
The 54,000 square foot facility will be an integrated, experiential learning lab for 135 current concrete industry management students and 200 commercial construction management students, and a major departure from their space. approximately 9,000 square feet in the Voorhies Engineering Technology building.
Among the building’s many features are a 200-seat lecture hall, four basic materials and construction labs, dedicated mechanical electrical plumbing, or MEP, a classroom, a covered amphitheater, and two computer labs, including a lab virtual design and construction capable of building models and building simulations as well as an augmented virtual reality lab for immersive experiences.
Students graduating from the program earn an average of $60,000 and more in starting salaries and have a placement rate of nearly 100%, program officials said.
“The best program in the nation”
University President Sidney A. McPhee calls it “the beginning of a new chapter in the success of our MTSU CIM (Concrete Industry Management) and CCM (Commercial Construction Management) programs.” … With today’s dedication, we publicly reaffirm our commitment to maintaining the nation’s best program in concrete and construction management.
McPhee said he was “amazed by the many ways concrete has been used in design and construction. Students will see firsthand how the many forms of concrete can add value and creativity to a structure. The building is a veritable living laboratory, with examples of various construction techniques and operating systems operating in full view of the students.
Construction is a trillion-plus industry that impacts every aspect of life – where we live, work, learn, shop, dine and more. School of Concrete and Construction Management director Kelly Strong said there were 1,800 combined alumni of concrete industry management (1,100) and construction management. commercial construction (600) “who are leaders in our industry”.
McPhee praised the industry partners who raised $5 million in matching funding for the project and who “have been incredibly generous with their time and resources, allowing us to have an amazing facility for our students” . He also featured many other MTSU supporters, including board members, led by Steve Smith, and state legislators.
The builder was Hoar Construction, based in Birmingham, Alabama. Orcut/Winslow was the architect. Construction began in January 2021 and ended in September.
The new facility marks an expansion of the university’s Innovation Corridor at the heart of campus, anchored by the state-of-the-art Science Building. In the coming years, SCCM will have a new neighbor as the Applied Engineering building will be built in this same area of the campus.
Continuing a Legacy
Referring to former students, Strong asked if they “could have imagined that this new building would be your legacy? Our celebration today is a tribute to your success and the mark you have had on the concrete and construction industries.
“Your continued commitment to our programs is the cornerstone of our success, and you, along with our friends and industry partners, have made this building possible. Beyond contributions to the building, we are grateful for the continued support of our students’ of concrete, the CIM umbrella, Associated General Contractors of Middle Tennessee and Home Builders Association of Tennessee.
Strong praised the efforts of his staff and faculty with the mid-semester move and the loyal support of industry partners.
Southern Concrete Machinery owner Chris Davenport (Class of 2000), of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, CIM’s first graduate, was among the speakers, as was Jessie Boone (’08), CIM Patron Chair and Business Development Manager of Road Worx, who told the large crowd gathered for the event that she dropped out of school, but made a life-changing decision to come back and be part of CIM.
Austin Chaney was the first director of CIM. Heather Brown of Murfreesboro led CIM for 20 years. During his tenure, both programs were under the School of Concrete and Construction Management.
“For me, it’s more than a building. It’s the people,” said Brown, who received a standing ovation from attendees for his tireless efforts to help make the new building a reality. She noted a poem read by Jon Huddleston, Associate Professor and Director of ICM, to close the event which highlighted the importance of building bridges for the people who will follow you in life.
“The poem resonated with me. That’s what I used to say all the time, ‘I don’t build buildings. I build people. “, Brown said. “The day culminated for me. I felt like a legacy of so many key people who passed away was shining in this moment. People who were here; people who couldn’t come.
“Buildings are beautiful, but it was about people. This testifies to the specificity of CIM. It’s absolutely student success, alumni success. I was very excited to come here today, but I was almost equally excited to see the people – all the old timers I’ve had for a small part of their life. … Universities can create special microcosms of relationships. It’s really good for MTSU to have a special program like this.
In a few years, SCCM will have a new neighbor. The Applied Engineering building will be constructed in this same area of campus.
The perspective of a dean and students
Dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences Greg Van Patten said MTSU’s School of Concrete and Construction Management “is producing graduates who are in huge demand in the United States, but especially in central Tennessee. , where there is so much growth and development”.
Van Patten said the structure is “a sophisticated educational tool – a functional building with educational elements deliberately and intelligently integrated into its design. For the first time, we will have classrooms and labs that were designed from the ground up with the specific purpose of teaching students construction management and concrete industry management. “
MTSU Junior Concrete Major Aric Rickman of Franklin, Tennessee, saw the building for the first time Wednesday, a day before speaking on behalf of the students. He calls it “incredible, with all the new gear and details to go with it.” He appreciates all the industry donors “who contributed financially to the facility. They physically give back to the students for years to come. This building means a lot of hope (for future growth).
Rickman, whose immediate family attended, has worked part-time (currently), full-time (summer) and interned at Hi-Way Paving. He plans to graduate in May 2023.
To watch the video of the event, go here.