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 Presenation’ award at regional construction competition

November 10th, 2016 Comments Off on BCS and engineering students take ‘Best Presenation’ 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.

Building Construction Science student featured as ‘Our People’ on university website

October 6th, 2016 Comments Off on Building Construction Science student featured as ‘Our People’ on university website


photo by Beth Wynn | Mississippi State University

Cora N. Howell (Student)

Via | Our People
In 2014, Cora Howell was part of the early-entry program at Mississippi State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Fate intervened, however, when she discovered a newer academic program offered by the university. After researching the College of Architecture, Art and Design’s building construction science major, the former Kitty Lake, Alaska, resident decided to take a different career-training path. Howell had actual construction experience since her family had built two cabins in the seemingly limitless wilderness of America’s largest state. Because the nearest city was located an hour away—by air—Howell said she and her six siblings had to be homeschooled. “My mom made sure we had a world-class education,” she proudly added. In 2010, homeschooling continued as the family moved to the Lower 48 and the Northeast Arkansas town of Greenway. When not studying or doing homework, Howell said she was able to find work with a local landscaping and dirt contractor. In time, she became a foreman, directing a field crew. Howell’s hands-on experience continued when she received an internship last year with Philadelphia-based Yates Construction and began working on job sites in Jackson and other locations. Though its headquarters remain in Neshoba County, the company founded in the mid-1960s has grown dramatically, now staffing four other offices in Mississippi, as well as operations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and even Central Mexico. During the summer of 2015, Howell was transferred by Yates to Starkville to work fulltime on new MSU facilities now carrying the names of Dogwood and Deavenport residence halls, as well as the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans at Nusz Hall. “I moved up from intern scheduling coordinator to assistant superintendent,” said Howell. In that latter role, she was responsible for Dogwood’s construction field operations that included subcontractor coordination, scheduling, workplace maintenance and general problem-solving. As an MSU junior now of Sturgis, the Shackouls Honors College member is focusing fulltime on her academic studies in CAAD’s third-year building construction science studio. “Studio is without a doubt the most effective and efficient way to teach construction,” Howell said. “It creates a safe environment for students to both succeed and fail while applying the concepts of construction.” After graduation next year, Howell said she hopes to find employment as a field superintendent with a general contracting firm. The ideal position would offer world-travel opportunities before focusing on a specific construction area, she added. Given her work experiences stretching from the frozen North to steamy South and the academic preparation received on campus, it probably is a safe bet Howell’s wishes may come true.

Program featured as State Spotlight

July 18th, 2016 Comments Off on Program featured as State Spotlight

Photo by Beth Wynn | Mississippi State University

Photo by Beth Wynn | Mississippi State University

Mississippi State juniors Collin J. Manuel of Biloxi and Hugh Hawkins of Gulfport demonstrate how to dismantle one of the dog houses that MSU building construction science students custom built for medium-sized dogs rescued by the Starkville-based Grassroots Animal Rescue of Mississippi Inc. Looking on are, from left, GARM volunteers Jessica and Ryan Thompson and BCS Assistant Professor Tom Leathem. Jessica Thompson also is an MSU alumna and English instructor. Leathem's Studio A students constructed the houses as part of a materials and methods assignment. This is the second year the group has worked on this project and donated the houses. See the post at

MSU junior receives national construction industry scholarship

June 16th, 2016 Comments Off on MSU junior receives national construction industry scholarship

Cora Howell

Cora Howell

By Sasha Steinberg | Mississippi State University A Mississippi State building construction science major is receiving major recognition from the construction industry’s leading organization. Cora N. Howell of Greenway, Arkansas, is a 2016 selection for a $5,000 Associated General Contractors of America Education and Research Foundation Scholarship. A junior also pursuing a minor in philosophy, she is a student in the university’s Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College. Virginia-based AGC represents more than 26,000 general and specialty contractors and service providers and suppliers throughout the U.S. For more, visit In addition to studying at the university, Howell is an assistant superintendent with the Neshoba County-based W.G. Yates and Sons Construction Co. Currently, she is responsible for coordinating and overseeing subcontractors and crews completing two new residence halls on the north side of campus. Howell began working in commercial construction at age 16. Over the years, she has developed a keen appreciation for the intricate and ever-changing nature of the building process. “You’re always in the same general environment, but as the job evolves, the problems become more detailed and subtle,” she said. “The job site is never the same two days in a row, but that keeps it interesting because you learn about different systems, standards and requirements.” Earlier this year, Howell also was awarded a $1,500 Brislin Inc. Annual Scholarship made possible by the longtime Columbus-based construction firm. As she supports herself while pursuing the degree, Howell said she is grateful to have opportunities to explore both career and personal goals while at MSU. “I always tell people that literature and the arts are my passions, but building construction science is my challenge,” she said. “It’s something I can always improve on, and all of my teachers at Mississippi State have been extremely helpful and contributed so much.” Offered by the College of Architecture, Art and Design, Mississippi State’s building construction science academic curriculum is one of only two such studio-based programs in the country.

BCS seniors present final project

April 28th, 2016 Comments Off on BCS seniors present final project

(Photos by Marissa Landon)

Building Construction Science students in Assistant Professor Michele Herrmann's senior studio presented their final projects on April 27.

For the project, students prepared cost estimates, schedules, three-dimensional site utilization plans and stormwater pollution prevention plans for a three-story assisted living facility. They also evaluated hypothetical subcontractor bids and assessed real-world business decisions such as whether to work overtime to complete the project on time, versus finishing the project after the scheduled completion date.

Ches Fedrick, a senior project manager at Innovative Construction Management, and Preston Clowney, a project manager at Yates Construction, provided the students with feedback about their projects.

BCS featured as State Spotlight

April 28th, 2016 Comments Off on BCS featured as State Spotlight

Building Construction Science students building walls in studio class: Evan Hodges (ech232) in purple shirt, Jeffrey Bassett (jhb351) in vest with orange bands), and Austin Rennie (amr883) in light green shirt. (photo by Megan Bean / © Mississippi State University)

(photo by Megan Bean / © Mississippi State University)

Shoring Up the Semester

Sophomore building construction science majors (l-r) Evan Hodges from Slidell, Louisiana, Jeffrey Bassett from Long Beach and Austin Rennie from Fayetteville, Tennessee, wrap up their semester coursework at Howell Hall by building walls as part of a studio class assignment.

Building construction science students go on field trip to Memphis

April 10th, 2016 Comments Off on Building construction science students go on field trip to Memphis

2016-04-01 07.26 2016-04-01 10.05.19 2016-04-01 12.03.27 2016-04-01 14.50.52 2016-04-01 14.58.48 2016-04-01 15.57.50

Flintco Construction in Memphis recently sponsored a day-long trip for students in the first and second-year Mississippi State University Building Construction Science Studios.

Approximately 50 students – along with Roy Anderson Professor and Director Craig D. Capano, Ph.D., CPC; Visiting Assistant Professor Mike Duff; and Lee Carson, lecturer – spent the day in Memphis.

The group visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (Multidisciplinary Simulation Center and Good Manufacturing Process Facility), Flintco's office and The Guest House at Graceland.

View the project information sheets here for more details about what the site visits.

NYC construction authority discusses modular construction advantages at MSU

April 8th, 2016 Comments Off on NYC construction authority discusses modular construction advantages at MSU

His first time to the state of Mississippi, Erik Antokal, director of strategic initiatives for FC Modular LLC, presented “High Rise Modular: New Frontiers of Scale in Offsite Construction” at 2 p.m. in Giles Hall’s Robert and Freda Harris Auditorium on Thurs., April 7. FC Modular, a startup company located in Brooklyn, N.Y., is the only American company currently specializing in high-rise modular buildings. Antokal began by explaining the benefits of modular construction. “Land, labor and materials are cost drivers in construction and are unpredictable. Modular systems solve that problem,” he said, explaining that with modular construction, you can predict costs and time and pre-build. “Beat the market, essentially,” he added. Referring to the process as “concurrent construction,” Antokal explained that one of the many benefits of modular construction is saving time; FC Modular is able to work in their factory building modules at the same time the general contractor is working on site on the excavation and foundation. Antokal also said modular construction is better for workers, who are able to go to the same job site each day and work indoors in a safer environment. He explained that much of the “heavy lifting and moving” is done at night when less workers are present, which is more efficient and safer. The presentation wrapped up with discussion about FC Modular’s current project, which, when complete, will be the world’s tallest modular high-rise building at 32 floors and 322 feet tall. Located at 461 Dean Street, the building includes 363 rental units and is entirely modular space – even the elevator shafts. Designed to achieve LEED Silver Certification, construction is expected to be completed soon. A Tufts University graduate, Antokal oversees the company’s external communications and internal investments. He previously was the company’s workforce and partnerships manager and, prior to that, commercial revitalization program manager with NYC’s Small Business Services Department. 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. For more, visit and Information on the BCS program is found at For more about FC Modular, see or Also, be sure to watch the video showcasing modular construction:

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