Students earn top honors in bridge building competition

by jamesc  5/11/2017 8:14:47 AM -- 

NORFOLK – Several Northeast Community College drafting students have joined some distinguished company. Six students entered the record books following the drafting program’s 11th annual bridge building competition recently.

Bethany Nelson won the competition after her 3.16-pound bridge of popsicle sticks and glue held 184.9 times its weight; balancing 735 pounds of free weights and sections of railroad track before collapsing into a pile of rubble. It puts Nelson, Norfolk, seventh on the competition’s all-time list. The record is held by Adam Krueger, Plainview, whose 2.31-pound bridge held 630 pounds, or 272 times its own weight in 2013.

Nelson said winning the competition was satisfying.

“You put in a lot of hard work, but it was a lot of fun to see it happen.”

Nelson, who will be employed at the Nucor Detailing Center in Norfolk, said there is quite a change from designing the bridge to actually constructing it.

“On a computer, it comes out more perfectly. Everything’s a straight edge. When your building it, you can see it doesn’t work out the same as it would be on the screen.”

Nelson was one of eight second year drafting students to take part in this year’s competition. She received $100 and a certificate from the Nucor Detailing Center.

Eduardo Quintero, O’Neill, was second after his 4.35-pound bridge held 765 pounds or 181.3times its weight. Shonka Macentyre, Schuyler, finished third. His 2.6-pound bridge held 390 pounds or 165.1 times its weight.

Michael Holcomb and Harry Lindner, Northeast’s CAD/drafting instructors on the Norfolk campus, organize the annual competition. Holcomb said the students created blueprints for their bridges and then constructed them.

“A lot of hard work goes into actually making a structure four-foot long and nine-inches wide out of popsicle sticks,” he said. “It’s really about the drawings…having them actually drawing it out and then build what they’re drawing to. This is a lot harder than it looks.”

Holcomb said for each student to earn a grade of A on the day, their bridge had to hold 50 times its weight.

“For example, If the bridge weighs two-pounds, it has to hold 100-pounds in order for the student to get an ‘A.’ Anything above the 50-times ratio is purely for bragging rights in the competition.”

All students in the competition earned the top grade. 

If the students choose to go the extra distance and not take their bridges home intact, they could go for the record, which they all attempted. In addition to Nelson, Quintero and Macentyre, Kody Mewis, Norfolk, Kyle Brunswick, Norfolk, and Zachary Bokemper, Emerson, made it on to the Top 20 record list, which goes back six-years. Records were not kept in the early years of the annual competition. Drafting students Tyler Bailey and Nicholle Sazama, Norfolk, also competed.                              

The competition was held in Paradise Courtyard, adjacent to the College Welcome Center on Northeast’s Norfolk campus. The popularity of the competition has allowed the event to move to larger areas over the past few years. It was originally held in one of the drafting program’s classrooms in the Maclay building and later moved to the theatre in the Cox Activities Center. It moved outdoors to Paradise Courtyard last year. 

Northeast offers an architectural and structural drafting program, where students learn to design residential and commercial structures using two-dimensional and three-dimensional CAD (Computer Aided Design) software. Students are trained to develop detailed working drawings for use in manufacturing and industrial facilities. Drafting is offered on the Norfolk campus and at Northeast’s extended campus in South Sioux City.

Other areas covered in the concentration are preparing material-takeoffs and cost estimates, construction surveying, developing building information models (BIM). After graduating from Northeast, students may find employment with architectural and engineering firms, general contractors, facility and building maintenance engineering departments.

Students in the Northeast media arts program streamed the annual bridge competition live on KHWK TV on CableOne Channel 20. The rebroadcast may be seen on the Northeast Community College Broadcasting YouTube page.

 

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                PHOTO CUTLINE

Eduardo Quintero, a Northeast Community College drafting student, (right) reacts as his popsicle stick-built bridge collapses under the weight of free weights during a competition recently on the Norfolk campus. Quintero, O’Neill, finished second behind Bethany Nelson, Norfolk, with Macentyre Shonka, Schuyler, third. Nelson, Quintero, Shonka and three other students placed on the competition’s Top 20 all-time list.

 


 

 

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