The team advanced to the nationals after finishing third – ahead of fourth-place Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – in a regional competition held in April at the University at Buffalo. The competitions test students' knowledge and skills by having them design, build and assemble a bridge that is about 1/10th the scale of a real structure.
This was the second time in the college's history that a team has advanced to the national competition. Hudson Valley students have been participating in the competition since 1994; a bridge team from the college first advanced to the nationals in 1998.
"The team performed superbly, and the faculty and the department are extremely proud of this significant accomplishment," said William Darling, a professor in the college's Civil Engineering Technology Department.
In addition to being 25 feet, 11 inches long, the bridge is 19 inches tall and three feet, 6 inches wide. Classified as a "flat bed bridge," the structure is similar to overpass bridges commonly seen on interstates or next to off ramps, according to Bridge Team Captain Daniel Farnan, a Class of 2004 graduate of the Civil Engineering Technology program.
"The bridge is a piece of art to me," said Farnan, of Stillwater. "When you say art, people think of a painting or sculpture in a museum, but there are many ways to be creative in this world and the bridge is our way."
The bridge team's trip was sponsored by the Faculty Student Association at Hudson Valley Community College and the Student Senate. The bridge was fabricated by General Steel Fabricators in Latham. In addition to Farnan, team members are: John Staines, Scott Older, Tim Warden, John DePaolo, Jeremy Hills, Brian McGrath, Andrew Peterson, and Peter Futerko, Ph.D. Limbrunner and Professor Peter Tolcser are the team's advisors.
Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 50 degree and certification programs in four academic divisions: Liberal Arts and Sciences; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Business; as well as programs run through the Educational Opportunity Center offering certification programs in workforce and academic preparation. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 11,000 students, and it is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining. Hudson Valley has graduated more than 55,000 students.