Leathem presents to ACCE in Kentucky

August 21st, 2015 Comments Off on Leathem presents to ACCE in Kentucky

Leathem_Tom_20141014_R3H6745~tml244 copyThomas M. Leathem, CPC, assistant professor of building construction science, recently presented at the annual meeting of the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) in Louisville, Ky., on July 24.

ACCE, the accrediting body for construction education, recently adopted new standards for accreditation based on Student Learning Outcomes. As part of this new approach, the ACCE requested presentations from schools that have begun to develop methods for addressing the new standards.

“I presented the approach that the BCS program is taking to implement the new outcomes-based standards,” said Leathem. “The presentation captured an audience representing roughly 20 different construction management schools from across the United States, many of which are recognized peer institutions in the construction discipline such as University of Florida, Auburn University, Cal-Poly, and Purdue University to name a few.”

The MSU Building Construction Science Program is currently in ‘candidate status’ for accreditation.


BCS students build, donate dog houses to Grassroots Animal Rescue

July 14th, 2015 Comments Off on BCS students build, donate dog houses to Grassroots Animal Rescue

Building Construction Science class builds dog houses for Grassroots Animal Rescue  (photo by Megan Bean / © Mississippi State University)

Building Construction Science class builds dog houses for Grassroots Animal Rescue
(photo by Megan Bean / © Mississippi State University)

By Sasha Steinberg | MSU

Dog houses custom-built by six Mississippi State building construction science majors now are benefiting a Starkville animal rescue.

As part of a university community engagement project, the students in assistant professor Tom Leathem’s first-ever building construction science summer studio course created the houses for Grassroots Animal Rescue of Mississippi Inc.

GARM is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization serving North Mississippi and surrounding areas. For more, see www.grassrootsanimalrescue.com.

“One of the components of this class is for students to complete a small building project,” Leathem said. “In the past, we have done projects for fundraising opportunities to help support student-related learning, but we hadn’t yet done something with a local non-profit.”

Part of the College of Architecture, Art and Design, MSU’s building construction science program is one of only two studio-based construction programs in the U.S. Because of its summer studio schedule, Leathem’s students met 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday during the June term.

“We didn’t have a lot of time to build something as large as in the past, but the project still needed to be something that would give the students the knowledge of construction,” he explained. “That is when I got the idea for the students to build dog houses that could be donated.”

After learning from a colleague that a local animal rescue needed houses for medium-sized dogs, he instructed the six students to begin by researching canines of that size and issues concerning their housing in the Southeast. Also, in a week’s time, they were required to design and construct houses that could be disassembled and reassembled for ease of transport.

As an additional part of the learning process, each member was assigned a budget. Those who found themselves going over-budget had to complete a redesign, Leathem said.

A former senior project manager for an Illinois construction company, he said it was interesting how the students came “to work together on the materials needed in order to save money and hit the budget. Some students could share materials to reduce waste, and this collaboration and communication was critical to the success of the project.”

Leathem’s summer studio included (by hometown):

BOLIVAR, Tennessee–Junior Charles M. “Chipper” Cary.

GLEN–Junior Hunter Burcham.

JACKSON–Sophomore Wesley Kerce.

MADISON–Sophomore Omar A. Ali.

SLIDELL, Louisiana–Junior Regan E. Horn.

UNION–Junior Caleb Crenshaw.

Late last week, the student-builders presented their completed projects to GARM volunteers Jessica and Ryan Thompson. Jessica Thompson also is an MSU English instructor.

Leathem said he found the inaugural summer studio experience doubly exciting since “the BCS program was able to do something that benefited a good cause like the Grassroots Animal Rescue, while also teaching our students valuable fundamentals critical to their development in the construction management profession.”

In addition to enhancing their knowledge of building conventions, estimating practices and project management, he said the assignment taught students how hard work can turn a design on paper into something real and useful. “I have always felt that our program has a unique opportunity to connect with the community, and I hope we will be able to find more opportunities like this one in the future,” he added.

At work:

Herrmann presents at ASEE conference in Seattle

June 21st, 2015 Comments Off on Herrmann presents at ASEE conference in Seattle

Herrmann_Michele_HeadshotMichele M. Herrmann, Esq., assistant professor of building construction science, presented a paper at the American Society for Engineering Education’s (ASEE) 122nd Annual Conference & Exposition held June 14-17 in Seattle, Wash.

Her paper, “Teaching Collaborative Skills Through an Interdisciplinary Design Competition,” discussed the results of the 2014 Brasfield & Gorrie Student Design Competition. Herrmann also shared lessons learned after four years of involvement in the competition to facilitate collaborative learning.

Assistant Professors Alexis Gregory (architecture), Lyndsey Miller (interior design) and Suzanne Powney (art) were co-authors on the paper.

BCS holds annual awards banquet

May 20th, 2015 Comments Off on BCS holds annual awards banquet

BCS Banquet 05082015_42

Class of 2015: (front, left to right): Ross Ware, Kurt Reynolds, Kyle Smith, Lake Jackson, Donald Drummond, (second row, left to right): Garrett Little, Allie Salas, Savannah Harvey, Trey Brunson, Evan Willis (back, left to right): Phillip Vance, Bryan Marks, Gage Adkins, Taylor Johnson, Dalton McMillan, Kenan Hamilton; not pictured: Thomas Vinton, Frankie Jackson, Bill Plott

The annual 2015 Awards and Recognition Banquet for Building Construction Science was held on May 8 at the Ritz Theater & Conference Center in West Point.

A special thanks to all the alumni who attended the event as well as our Advisory Council members, Tony Carroll, Brice Marks and Mike Upchurch.

The following students were recognized at the event:

Students of the Year:
One student from each studio level is selected as the Student of the Year based on academic performance. The student with the highest Grade Point Average at the conclusion of the fall semester receives this award.
BCS Banquet 05082015_45First Year – Cora Howell and Jon Luke Cave
BCS Banquet 05082015_47Second Year – Owen Mcvitty (second-time recipient)

(not pictured)
Third Year – Tim Sullivan (third-time recipient)
BCS Banquet 05082015_48Fourth Year – Allie Salas (fourth-time recipient)

Director’s Medallion:
Selection criteria include academic effort, participation, leadership abilities, strong moral character and a concern with the sustainability of the program. The recipient must work diligently in the classroom, participate in BCS extracurricular activities and be a role model to students.
BCS Banquet 05082015_492015 Recipient: Allie Salas

BCS Banquet 05082015_212015-2016 Scholarship Recipients:
Kline Mechanical Systems Annual Scholarship: $2,000
Collin Smith

MS Associated Builders & Contractors Scholarship: $1,000
Owen McVitty

Brislin, Inc. Annual Scholarship: $1,500
Robby Keifer
Benjamin Chubb

Chip & Jennifer Crane Endowed Scholarship: $1,000
Tanner Wallace

Thanks to Laura Mitchell for organizing this special event!

(See all the photos from the event below:)

BCS students participate in 2015 Undergraduate Research Symposium

May 19th, 2015 Comments Off on BCS students participate in 2015 Undergraduate Research Symposium

By Sasha Steinberg | MSU

Nearly two dozen students are being recognized at Mississippi State for successful faculty-guided research efforts during the concluding school year.

During the Undergraduate Research Symposium held Thursday [April 23] at the university’s Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College, 23 undergraduates received awards for work conducted in the fall 2014 and spring 2015 semesters.

Projects submitted for the competition were assigned to one of four categories, including arts and humanities, biological sciences and engineering, physical sciences and engineering, and social sciences. In recognition of the university’s Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, a community engagement and service learning track also was included for the third year.

A team of 55 campus faculty members representing a cross-section of academic areas served as judges for the competition.

Teams representing the College of Architecture, Art and Design included:

“Improving on Outreach Design”
Anna Barr (ARC)
Patrick Brown (ARC)
Lucas Posey (ARC)
(Faculty Advisor: Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory)

“Comprehensive Tectonics: Technical Building Assemblies from the Ground to the Sky”
Ashton Aime (ARC)
Edward Holmes (ARC)
Cody Smith (ARC)
(Faculty Advisor: Assistant Professor Alexis Gregory)

“A Study of Air Infiltration Rates of Residential Construction Over Forty Years”
Ria Bennett (ARC)
Bill Plott (BCS)
Cody Smith (ARC)
(Faculty Advisor: Assistant Professor Emily McGlohn)

“Building Material Stewardship and Sustainable Practices | Mapping the Regional Landscape of Building Materials”
Ryan Fierro (ARC)
(Faculty Advisor: Assistant Professor Jacob Gines)

“LEED Green Associate Online Training Course”
Frankie Jackson (BCS)
Thomas Vinton (BCS)
Faculty Advisor: Assistant Professor Tom Leathem

BCS alumnus named Flintco Rookie of the Year

May 18th, 2015 Comments Off on BCS alumnus named Flintco Rookie of the Year

MEM - Joseph Witherspoon 2(Via Katie Williams, Flintco LLC)

Flintco LLC, one of the nation’s largest commercial contractors, recently named Mississippi State University Building Construction Science graduate Joe Witherspoon (Class of 2014) as its Rookie of the Year during their annual C.W. Flint Jr. awards. All winners were nominated by their peers and then selected by Flintco’s executive management team.

These internal company awards were created to recognize employees who stood out over the past year in areas such as management and leadership, safety, training and upholding the Flintco Ethos. The Rookie of Year award recognizes an individual who is committed to making Flintco a better a place through training, teamwork, work ethic and who is passionate about gaining a growing knowledge of our business.

Those who nominated Witherspoon said he “immediately picked up on all of the process that we have to do. He has shown excellent leadership qualities, went above and beyond whenever asked and a lot of the time when not asked. He has excellent potential for the field and has the Flintco-Made quality of a seasoned employee.”

Another fellow Flintco employee wrote, “Joe has shown that he means business, always wanting to learn and do more. He is an overachiever with ambitious aspirations to move up the ladder. He takes on any challenge with a positive attitude. Joe has very good verbal communication skills and technological skills.”

Mississippi State University should be proud of Witherspoon and his representation of its quality building construction science program.

Flintco was founded in 1908 in Tulsa, Okla. The company has since grown into one of the largest commercial contractors in the nation. Alberici Corporation acquired Flintco in 2013.  Flintco’s operating divisions provide a full range of services, including preconstruction, construction management, design-build, project and program management, as well as general contracting from six offices in: Albuquerque, N.M.; Austin, Tex.; Memphis, Tenn.; Oklahoma City; Springdale, Ark.; and Tulsa, Okla.  For more information, visit www.flintco.com or on Twitter @Flintco.

BCS seniors present final projects

May 1st, 2015 Comments Off on BCS seniors present final projects

Seniors in Assistant Professor Michele Herrmann’s building construction science studio presented their final projects on April 29, 2015.

First-year BCS students present final projects

May 1st, 2015 Comments Off on First-year BCS students present final projects

Building Construction Science students in Lee Carson’s first-year studio were asked to apply what they had learned throughout their first year in the program for their final projects.

Students were split into five crews of four members each with the following structure:

  1. Team Captain: Coordinates/leads team, reports directly to professor
  2. Job Supervisor: Coordinates all aspects of schedule, cost and quality control
  3. Safety Manager/Inspector: Managers and enforces all safety aspects
  4. Planner/Designer/CAD: Coordinates drawings, design decisions and documentation

The five teams were then challenged to create five different wall sections (randomly selected): wood frame, steel frame, pre-cast concrete, masonry and a hybrid structure containing steel and concrete.

The wall sections had to include the following qualities:

  1. Must be able to protect the interior conditioned space from natural elements of heat/cold, water wind, sound, light and other.
  2. Must be structurally sound to resist natural forces such as wind and gravity
  3. Must be able to disassemble into individual pieces or into prefab components
  4. Will have a foundation/base
  5. Must have a complete floor system
  6. Must have a complete roof system
  7. Will have a window opening flashed, ready to receive a window

Students presented their wall structures and the process that went into the designing and building on April 29.

Students at work:

Final presentations:


Collaborative Studio presents final projects

April 30th, 2015 Comments Off on Collaborative Studio presents final projects

The Spring Collaborative Studio, which included third-year architecture and building construction science students and professors from both units, presented their final reviews on April 28, 2015 in Giles Hall.

For the project, the student teams designed a new fire station in Starkville for the Starkville Fire Department. The students have been working with their faculty, professional architects and professional constructors to develop the project.

Second-year BCS students present final projects

April 28th, 2015 Comments Off on Second-year BCS students present final projects

Students in Assistant Professor Masoud Gheisari’s second-year Building Construction Science Studio presented their final poster presentations on April 27, 2015.