BCS students participate in ASC competition

November 16th, 2017 Comments Off on BCS students participate in ASC competition

By Regan Horn, BCS senior

Each year, the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) hosts a competition that challenges students to prepare and present a proposal to a problem statement in less than 48 hours.

This year, the Building Construction Science Program helped prepare a competition team to compete in the Design Build category of the competition. The team consisted of Hunter Bullock (2nd year), Regan Horn (4th year), Cora Howell (4th year), Kacie Lynn James (2nd year), Robert Montoux (2nd year) and Harrison Walker (4th year). The faculty coaches were Visiting Associate Professor George Martin and Assistant Professor Saeed Rokooei. The Lemoine Company sponsored the teams for the second year.

The Region 2 competition was held Oct. 24-26 in Peachtree City, Ga.

The problem statement for the Design Build competition was to create a parking garage that could house 1,500 parking spots, a baseball and soccer field, as well as be created into a completely new building in 10-15 years. This year’s team presented a well thought-out and detailed plan of a mass timber parking garage, impressing the judges with the plan’s innovation. 

Each year, there is also an opportunity for younger students to participate in a shadow competition. They are given a similar but smaller project and asked to complete it in one working day. The only difference is the students are placed into groups with students from other universities. The Mississippi State students that participated as shadows were Tori Thompson, Jalyn Wallin, John McMahon, Chris Sharp and Bobby Fatherree. The shadow team that Tori Thompson was a part of placed first in the shadow competition.

BCS students follow condo construction progress

November 15th, 2017 Comments Off on BCS students follow condo construction progress

Via Edward Kemp

Building construction science students in Edward Kemp’s building systems course (BCS 3213) visited the Guest Drive condominium project site this week as a followup to their visit last month.

Students looked at construction progress related to the electrical, plumbing and water components of the project.

They were joined by Joyner Williams, chief building official for the city of Starkville. 

In addition to observing construction progress, Williams explained the building department review and inspection process in the city of Starkville.



BCS class visits Starkville condominium project

October 24th, 2017 Comments Off on BCS class visits Starkville condominium project

Students from the Building Construction Science (BCS) program at Mississippi State University recently went on a site visit to observe electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems for an eight-unit condominium project in Starkville.

Joyner Williams, chief building official for the city of Starkville, and representatives from Morgan Construction Company guided students through the project and discussed construction details with the students.

The group will visit the site again in a few weeks to see the construction progress.

The students are enrolled in a class on building systems (BCS 3213) led by Professor Edward Kemp that is part of the Bachelor of Science in Building Construction Management at MSU.

MSU building construction science students participate in fall 2017 field trips

October 19th, 2017 Comments Off on MSU building construction science students participate in fall 2017 field trips

Students in the Building Construction Science (BCS) Program at Mississippi State University participated in field trips to Chicago, Ill., and Washington, D.C., in late September. These were part of an annual field trip week in which students from the BCS Program and the School of Architecture travel to metropolitan areas to meet with construction professionals, visit construction sites and observe urban environments.

Chicago: First-Year and Third-Year Studios

For the 2017 fall field trips, 39 first-year students in BCS 1116 Building Construction Studio A joined 25 third-year students in BCS 3116 Building Construction Studio 3 to travel to Chicago with Assistant Clinical Professor Lee Carson, Assistant Professor Saeed Rokooei and Interim Director and Associate Dean Greg Hall.

This group visited the following sites:

Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center
Northwestern University – Chicago Campus
Hosted by: Bennett and Brosseau Roofing, Power Construction

  • The visit to the construction site of the Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center provided an opportunity for students to observe an addition of a 600,000 square-foot, 14-story building adjacent to existing buildings on Northwestern University’s Chicago campus. Rob Chase, project superintendent with Power Construction, and George Patterson, president of Bennett and Brosseau Roofing, guided students on a detailed tour of the project and answered questions about the building’s design and construction. Of particular interest were the challenges of building within a confined urban site and coordinating subcontractors and specific trades throughout the project schedule – particularly in relation to site access, conveying systems and inclement weather.

Chicago Testing Laboratory and Gallagher Asphalt Plant
Hosted by: Chicago Testing Laboratory, Gallagher Asphalt

  • The Chicago Testing Laboratory in Thornton, Ill., allowed students to see the testing processes for asphalt and its components. At the adjacent Gallagher Asphalt plant, students observed materials being processed, asphalt production and loading into trucks for transport to sites. Vice President Jay Miller and his colleagues at Chicago Testing Laboratory and Chief Operating Officer Daniel Gallagher of Gallagher Asphalt outlined the asphalt production and testing processes.

Joliet Transportation Center
Hosted by: Joliet City Engineer, Lisa Dorothy; T.Y. Lin International

  • The Joliet Transportation Center is a multimodal mass transit center in downtown Joliet. The center will eventually connect local commuter rail lines with Amtrak passenger rail lines and passenger bus routes. Discussions with City Engineer Lisa Dorothy and engineers and project managers from T.Y. Lin International helped students understand the complexity of building within a restricted site and coordinating construction with operating rail lines.

(photos via JD Staten, third year BCS student)
Jane Byrne Interchange Project
Hosted by: Illinois Department of Transportation

  • BCS visited the Illinois Department of Transportation, and students were given the details of a major interchange in the Chicago area – the Jane Byrne Interchange Project. The goal of the project is to create a safer and more efficient transportation interchange. While portions of the project are still under construction, many remodels of the bridges and overpasses have already been completed. Building construction science students were escorted through the project and shown which sections were currently under construction.

 UL LLC Testing Laboratory
Hosted by: UL LLC

  • In addition to site visits, the field trip included visits to testing laboratories. At UL LLC in Northbrook, students observed material, product and components being tested for impact and fire as well as the labs that test them for water and air infiltration, wind resistance and other forces. Students discussed the UL Certification process with Anish Chacko and learned about the history of testing and certification as well as the important role of certification in the building industry.

Millennium Park Tour
Hosted by: Millennium Park Foundation

  • Through the Millennium Park Foundation, building construction science students toured Millennium Park, one of the most iconic landmarks in Chicago. It houses the famous Cloud Gate Sculpture (the Bean Sculpture) and is home of one of the most advanced outdoor concert arenas in the nation. While sightseeing the park, the group discussed some of the logistics of maintaining such a beautiful outdoor area in the heart of one of the biggest cities in America. They discussed issues such as funding, maintenance and stakeholders involved with the decision making of a city park.

Mudd Hall Renovation and Expansion
Northwestern University – Evanston
Hosted by: The Walsh Group

  • Mudd Hall is an active building for students at Northwestern University in Evanston, and it was undergoing a renovation on the top floors by The Walsh Group when the BCS student arrived. Renovating the building while it was still in use created many challenges for the team, one of which was noise constraints. The project also had many special construction constraints required for lab facilities. These unique scenarios were of great interest to the students, and they learned a lot on the topic.

Ryan Fieldhouse and Walter Athletics Center
Northwestern University – Evanston
Hosted by: The Walsh Group

  • The Ryan Fieldhouse and Walter Athletics Center at Northwestern University in Evanston really interested students because of the facilities it held. The Walsh Group is completing the project that will be home to an indoor practice field with an enormous waterfront view of Lake Michigan. It was also home to many other sports locker rooms, training facilities and management offices. The project was at a great point for viewing the structure of the facility. Students related well to the project team members who escorted the group through the project.

Vista Tower
Hosted by: James McHugh Construction Company

  • Vista Tower in Chicago is a 93-story, mixed-use tower that will include a 5-star hotel with 192 guest rooms, 406 luxury condominiums, parking and retail with a cost close to $1 billion. Brandon Bortoli and Joel Kuna with James McHugh Construction Co. led three groups around the jobsite, looking at four main parts:
  1. Wall System: The groups was shown a wall mockup of the glass and aluminum curtain wall system that was constructed to test constructability issues and to allow the owner and architect to view aesthetic qualities. Another mockup of the same system was also being built off site to test performance issues of air and water infiltration.
  2. Mechanical Systems:. Students had a discussion with the project engineers who were checking the design of the mechanical systems. They showed the groups how utilities were being brought into the building and run around the temporary hoists that are used to get people and materials up and down during construction. They were utilizing BIM software to check for clashes and redesign the systems.  The BIM software allows the engineers to visualize how all systems are coordinated.
  3. Concrete Structure: The first day, two groups were given a tour of the construction of the concrete structure of the building. The morning group was able to see concrete being placed on one of the floor slabs. The group who came in the afternoon was able to see them finishing the slab. At the same time, another crew started placing formwork for the next level on top of the slab that was just poured.  This allowed the students to see the coordination of several crews and the fast pace of the process.    
  4. Sales Center: The groups first looked at a physical model of the tower in its context.  Then, they were shown on a large touch screen displaying the details of the condominiums they were selling. A potential buyer can easily navigate photo renderings of the interiors, floor plans, the view from the selected condo and other information about each of the condos.  The sales center even had a full-scale mockup of one of the units including the kitchen, bathroom and living space. Students were especially impressed with the living space, which housed wall-to-wall LCD screens displaying the view out of the selected condo with options to change the time of day on the views.  


Charlottesville and Knoxville: Second-Year (Collaborative) Studio

Thirty-eight second-year students in BCS 2116 Building Construction Studio 2 traveled to Washington, D.C., with Visiting Associate Professor George Martin and Lecturer Briar Jones along with 44 second-year architecture students and their professors. The construction students made stops in Charlottesville, Va., and Knoxville, Tenn. In addition to visiting five construction sites and projects and meeting with over seven construction professionals, the students visited museums and explored the metropolitan areas of the cities to make the most of their field trip experience.


  • The students had a guided tour of Thomas Jefferson’s majestic home, Monticello (Little Mountain).  In preparation for the visit, students read a portion of Jefferson and Monticello: The Biography of a Builder by Jack Mclaughlin and conducted research of the varied building trades, tools and practices of the era.  They were additionally prepared for understanding the primary building material (brick) with an informative lecture on the history of brick masonry construction by Dr. John Beaty.

University of Virginia Lawn Tour

  • As a follow on to the visit to Jefferson’s home, the students then took a brief walking tour of the major effort of the latter half of Jefferson’s life – the University of Virginia campus.  Approaching alongside the Rotunda, students noticed the similarities between Jefferson’s home and the figural building of his academical village. They likewise observed the unique use of construction materials such as iron tension rods and the single wythe serpentine brick walls that frame the gardens behind the pavilions.

National Building Museum

  • The first stop in Washington was the National Building Museum, formally known as the Old Pension Building.  Designed and engineered by U.S. Army Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs in 1882-87 to serve veterans of the Civil War, this brick masonry building has inventive approaches to both passive cooling and handicap accessibility unusual for its time.

 National Mall

Washington National Cathedral

  • A morning visit to The Washington National Cathedral included a guided tour of what is undoubtedly the last true medieval-gothic structure ever built. Construction on the cathedral commenced in 1907 and was completed in 1990.  The structure is true stone masonry construction and was built in a fashion similar to those employed by stone masons in the middle ages, albeit with modern advantages such as the use of heavy equipment and steel as opposed to timber as a roof structure.  Students were able to observe the challenges of load bearing masonry, with veneer and structure being the same element and noticed the difficulties of moisture penetration in non-cavity walls.

The International Spy Museum – Construction Site Visit

  • The (new) International Spy Museum tour was hosted by the project owner/developer JBG Smith Companies. An initial project introduction was given by Senior Construction Managers Jon Brunelle and Peter Clark followed by a tour of the construction site. Also attending were JBG Smith’s Vice President for Design and Construction Andrew Griffin and Senior Associate Bryan Chun (architect of record) for Hickok Cole Architects. Design architect for the project is Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners of London, England. Students learned about the complexities of construction in a busy and restricted urban site and the challenges of working with a high profile name architect on a high dollar value building. Chun also introduced students to the integration of various building systems and, in particular, the complex fire suppression and life safety features.
    • “This site visit was very interesting. We were taken around by the architect and contractor and shown all parts of this structure. We were told about many design challenges that the owner requested as well as how both the contractor and architect overcame these issues. It was very interesting to hear how both teams collaborated to find the best solution for the owner.” – Hunter Bullock, second- year BCS student

Mixed-Use Development Projects – Construction Site Visit

  • Next, students took the Metro a couple of stops to new, mixed-use development projects being undertaken by JBG Smith adjacent to the Washington Nationals Ball Park. The tour was provided by JBG Smith’s PJ Bautista and representatives of Clark Construction. Students were introduced here to classic Washington building – tight floor-to-floor cast in place, post-tensioned concrete construction – well known in D.C. due to the city’s height limitation and desire to get as much useable floor space as possible. The students were led through condo units in various stages of construction and introduced to the punch list process by seeing a unit peppered with the architect’s stickers with correction or replacement notations.

Cannon House Office – Congressional Offices – Construction Site Visit

  • The Cannon Congressional Office Building is in the midst of a several-year, phased, renovation project.  BCS students were guests of Architect of the Capitol’s Justin Kieffer. The tour began with an introduction to and presentation of the work of the Architect of the Capitol by Director Peter Mueller and members of his staff. Students received a presentation on the scope of the work and the difficulties in undertaking construction operations in a secure building that is required to remain open during construction.

United States Capitol

  • Following the Congressional Office visit, students walked across the street for a guided tour of the U.S. Capitol.  Entering through the new Visitor’s Center at the lower level, students were guided through the political, artistic and architectural history of this great American building. Upon arriving on the main level under the great dome in Statuary Hall, students brushed within feet of Arizona U.S. Senator John McCain giving an interview to reporters.

 Associated General Contractors Meeting at the National Headquarters

  • The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) hosted a meet-and-greet for the students at their National Headquarters in Arlington, Va. The meeting was organized by Associate Director of the Building Division Paige Packard and commenced with a welcome by AGC CEO Steve Sandherr, who discussed the importance of industry associations and their current work in the development of ADG-authored standard contracts for construction. Following this were presentations by Christie Beatty (Executive Director of Chapter Services), Jordan Howard (Director of Federal and Heavy Construction), Brian Deery (Director of Highway and Transportation Division) and Fara Francis (Chief Information Officer) on the use of new technologies in building design and construction. The final presentation was by Courtney Bishop (Associate Director, Education Foundation) who informed students about access to AGC scholarships and energetically invited them to apply.

Museum of the Bible – Construction Site Visit

  • The Museum of the Bible – designed by SmithGroupJJR and built by Clark Construction – was the final construction site visit of a very busy day. A tour of the museum, set to open in a month’s time of the visit, was provided by Clark Construction’s Project Manager Tara Earley. In addition to providing an informative walkthrough of this soon-to-be-completed project, Earley gave the students a valuable glimpse into the life of a young project manager and a sense of a day-in-the-life. Her professionalism and enthusiasm for the construction industry spoke well for Clark Construction and the caliber of people they are able to attract.
    • “This was by far my favorite part. We were able to see the almost complete structure and hear about the many different issues that the contractor ran into during construction. The ending product is the most technologically advanced museum in the world. Every detail of the project was well thought out and designed so that the longevity of the building could be reached.” – Hunter Bullock, second-year BCS student

 Sacred Heart Cathedral Knoxville – Construction Site Visit

  • The trip’s final visit was to the new Cathedral of Knoxville, Tenn., Sacred Heart Cathedral. The project was an interesting complement to the students’ visit to the National Cathedral. Unlike the WNC, Sacred Heart has a traditional (Renaissance) design by Architect James McCrery (McCrery Architects) but is a modern building. Cavity wall systems, vapor barriers, thermal assemblies, mechanical, electrical systems, not to mention modern building methods were used to realize this traditional design. Following an introduction on sacred space and modern building by Fr. David Boettner of the Diocese of Knoxville, Architect Mickey Sutliff (architect of record) of BARBERMcMURRY BMA showed the students around the site and provided stories of some of the creative construction solutions used to realize a style of design that was created using very different means in the past. The project is being built by Merit Construction.

Additional photos from the trip:

(D.C. images via Hunter Bullock and George Martin)

Activities such as site visits and meetings with professionals have a significant positive and long lasting impact on students. In addition to increasing the relevance of information addressed in the BCS curriculum, site visits and meetings with professionals provide additional reference points that faculty incorporate in studio projects and discussions. These experiences also expose students to the variety of career paths and professional opportunities available to them.

The BCS Program is committed to increasing the scope and value of educational experiences for its students by engaging with professionals; achieving this goal would not be possible without the generous time and commitment of many individuals, companies, organizations and institutes who supported and hosted BCS students during the 2017 fall field trips.

Electrical Systems class tours Old Main Academic Center

September 20th, 2017 Comments Off on Electrical Systems class tours Old Main Academic Center

Story and photos via Edward Kemp

The Electrical Systems (BCS 3213) class taught by Edward Kemp recently took a site visit to the newly constructed Old Main Academic Center.

The group was hosted by Associate Director of Utilities in the MSU Facilities Department, Jacob Forrester.

The primary objective of the visit was to look at constructed examples of sanitary sewer drainage, sanitary sewer venting, fire protection and storm drainage piping and systems.

BCS seniors present final projects

May 2nd, 2017 Comments Off on BCS seniors present final projects


(Story via Assistant Professor Michele Herrmann | Photos by Kelsey Brownlee)

For their final project, senior building construction science students in Assistant Professor Michele Herrmann’s class responded to a hypothetical Request for Proposals for a three-story assisted living facility.

They prepared proposals outlining the recommended cost and duration, their individual approach to the project, risk assessments, quality control plans, stormwater pollution prevention plans and three-dimensional site utilization plans.

Each student presented his or her project in a head-to-head competition against a classmate.

Students in Assistant Professor Tom Leathem and Visiting Assistant Professor Mike Duff’s second-year studio judged each pair of presentations and selected a winner.

Building construction science seniors visit New York

April 11th, 2017 Comments Off on Building construction science seniors visit New York

Building Construction Science senior NYC Field Trip 2017 from CAADatMSU on Vimeo.

From February 6-10, the building construction science senior class traveled to New York, NY, to view a variety of construction projects.

The group toured the High Line and a residential high-rise at 520 W 30th Street, courtesy of Terrance Richardson of Roy Anderson Related and a BCS Class of 2012 graduate.

The students also had a day of site tours, courtesy of T.G. Nickel, that included Essex Crossing II – future home of the Essex Street Market – and The Bryant – a residential condominium overlooking Bryant Park.

On the final day of the visit, the class toured EW Howell’s renovation of 11 East 89th Street to accommodate the Life Long Learning Center for the Park Avenue Synagogue.

During the trip, also students had some free time to explore the city:

Fourth-year BCS students present fall semester projects

December 8th, 2016 Comments Off on Fourth-year BCS students present fall semester projects

(Photos by Kelsey Brownlee)

On Mon., Nov. 28, students in Assistant Professor Michele Herrmann’s BCS Studio V course presented their projects to Tony Carroll, Construction Manager, Sanderson Construction; Mason Phillips, Project Manager, Century Construction (BCS Class of 2013); and Ches Fedric, Senior Project Manager, ICM (Innovative Construction Management).

Over the course of the fall semester, the students were asked to prepare a bid and schedule, negotiate contracts and then react and respond to a series of hypothetical delays and conflicts often faced on construction projects.

The delays and conflicts ranged from weather delays to subcontractor conflicts to defective work. For each issue the students were asked to evaluate the impact on their budget and schedule and determine what their contractual rights and obligations were.

BCS and engineering students take ‘Best Presentation’ award at regional construction competition

November 10th, 2016 Comments Off on BCS and engineering students take ‘Best Presentation’ award at regional construction competition

Heavy Civil Team

Heavy Civil Team

Design-Build Team

Design-Build Team

Faculty members and students from Mississippi State University’s Building Construction Science Program recently attended the Associated Schools of Construction’s (ASC) Region II Conference and Student Competitions held in Peachtree City, Ga., from Nov. 1-3. The event was co-sponsored by the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) and Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America.

Eighteen students from Mississippi State competed in the competition.

Five BCS students were part of the Design-Build category. Three BCS students and three students from MSU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering joined up for the Heavy Civil category. Seven students competed as shadows, allowing them to gain exposure and experience for next year’s competition.

Mississippi State was represented well, and the Heavy Civil team received the Best Presentation award.

Building Construction Science students visit Houston and College Station

October 25th, 2016 Comments Off on Building Construction Science students visit Houston and College Station

Images via Visiting Assistant Professor Mike Duff

By Regan Horn | BCS student

This semester, Building Construction Science third-year students in Visiting Assistant Professor Mike Duff’s studio were given the opportunity to take a field trip to Houston, Dallas and College Station, Texas. A total of eleven decided to partake in the opportunity. In a minivan van and a fifteen passenger van, the class began the almost nine-hour drive to Houston, Texas.

After checking into the hotel, the first stop was eating dinner with Campbell Slimp of Dynamic Glass at Backyard Café & Grill. Slimp talked a lot about the journey that he took to get to where he is in his life right now. He went to college thinking he would be joining the military, but after the military decided they did not need him, Campbell was forced to begin looking for jobs elsewhere. After realizing that working for a large general contractor was not for him, he chose to work for a sub-contractor. He slowly ended up working for Dynamic Glass and is happy with where he is at. The best advice that he gave was, “You are too young to be in a job that makes you unhappy.”

The next day, the group traveled to Sugar Land, Texas, to meet with Angie Barrett of Flour Construction. The group began with a tour of the facility. After the tour, the group began meeting with several different people in Flour’s many different departments. From meeting with the guy that builds the pipe models, to meeting with an intern, to meeting with the people in charge of 3D models, Flour provided a large overview of what working for an international industrial company looks like.

On the way out of Houston, the last stop was to visit Savanna Magee, Senior Project Engineer, from Webber, LLC. The site visit was a civil construction site for the expansion of Highway 290. Webber was in various stages of the project at different portions of the highway. At one location, the support columns were being formed and poured. At another location, the deck was about to be formed in preparation to pour the concrete for the deck. Overall, the experience at the Webber Construction site was definitely an experience that the group would not have been able to experience in Starkville.

Once the group arrived in College Station, Texas, the first activity the group had was attending the COSC 475 class at Texas A&M University. After sitting through a lecture style scheduling class, the MSU students were all grateful or our studio learning environment.

After driving across campus, the group met with Aaron Hodge, Texas A&M Building Construction Manager, at West Campus Agri-Life building. The group ended up chatting with him for a large amount of time and toured another building that was being built on campus.

The last stop that the group made on Texas A&M’s campus was to visit Professor Joe Horlen, Department Chair of Texas A&M Construction Science Department, to tour the COSC main building and tour the BIM Cave.

The final stop in the College Station, Texas, area was meeting with James Benham, CEO of JB Knowledge. Benham had lots of cool technology and toys that he allowed the group to play with that will be the future of the construction industry one day.

The only stop in Fort Worth was a meeting with Alec Baker of Baker Triangle. Baker Triangle was a drywall and plaster sub-contractor.

The first site visit we had in Dallas was to meet with Eddie Trejo, Assistant Project Manager, for Polk Mechanical in a renovation of a downtown Dallas Hotel. Trejo explained the difficulty of completing a mechanical project on an older building. He also explained that the majority of the sub-contractors were coordinating with BIM, but a few key sub-contractors were not, which added to the difficulty of the project. After visiting with Trejo, the group was able to visit the Grassy Knoll in downtown Dallas.

The next stop in Dallas was at EMJ Corporation. They are a general contractor that has many different divisions. They were an awesome group of people that explained everything that they do very well. The also explained their internship process, which was very valuable. We talked to several different people from several different divisions while we were there.

A few hours later, we were able to meet with Cory Pecacek, Assistant Project Manager for Whiting Turner Construction. We toured a medical facility that would deal with cancer treatment and radiation when it was completed. The facility was extremely interesting to look at due to the different precautions that had to be taken because of the radioactive material that is going to be housed in the facility.

The last visit with a company on the field trip was with Alex Allen, Project Manager for Pulte Holmes. We were able to have dinner with him and pick his brain about what it was like in the residential side of the construction industry. He provided a lot of good advice on how the residential side was different but still lucrative. He had a passion for residential home construction, which many in the group found fascinating.

For four of the members of the group, the actual last stop of the field trip was the Texas A&M versus Arkansas football game at AT&T Stadium. Jerry World was unbelievably amazing. Not only was the construction of the building awesome to look at, the atmosphere that was created was phenomenal.

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