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02/25/2000
Hudson Valley Community College Construction Technology Team Edges Out Temple For Third

CONTACT: Jeff Foley (518) 629-8085 or Sarah Boggess (518) 629-8071

FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Friday, February 25, 2000

http://www.hvcc.edu

A team of four Hudson Valley Community College students recently traveled to Matamoras, Pa., and placed third in a construction management competition. The squad, part of Hudson Valley's Construction Technology Program, competed in the Commercial Building Competition, held February 3-6 and sponsored by the Associated General Contractors.

An annual event, the Commercial Building Competition regularly draws teams from some of the best engineering schools in the Eastern United States. This year, Hudson Valley – the only two-year college involved – competed against 11 four-year schools.

Hudson Valley also placed third in 1998. This year's team was comprised solely of second-year students: Steven Girvin of Loudonville, Bill Rogers of Bennington, Vt., Greg VanDyke of Niskayuna and Jason Curcio of Scotia. Christina Erby helped coordinate the trip but did not go to Pennsylvania. Al Bryski, Tim Dennis and Jill Palmer-Wood acted as faculty advisors.

The students raised $3,000 for the trip primarily through fundraising letters.

"The trip was a bit of fun for the students, but it was also a lot of work," said Bryski, department chair of Hudson Valley's Construction Technology and Civil Engineering Technology programs. "The students play contractor. They set up plans, specs. They go through the whole thing. It's a pretty rough competition."

The team arrived in Pennsylvania Friday evening and socialized with students from other colleges. Then, they had to meet at 6 a.m. Saturday to receive drawings, specifications and instructions from the competition's organizers. This was the team's only opportunity to ask questions. After the meeting, faculty advisors were barred from working with students unless an emergency, such as an equipment failure, arose.

The project handed down to the Vikings consisted of making changes to the Luzerne County Community College in Pennsylvania. The students were asked to provide estimates for new construction and renovations on an existing building at the college.

The work on the existing building covered 20,000-square feet, including new flooring, ceilings and mechanical systems. The new construction totaled 15,835-square feet and included five science labs, a gas mechanical system and landscaping. Students were told that the project was supposed to take 9-15 months and cost less than $5 million.

The team was required to demonstrate capabilities in each of the following categories: Full knowledge of the plans and specifications; problem solving and method of construction; technical ability; cost analysis; scheduling and analysis; and communication skills. They had from 7 a.m. until midnight to prepare their submittals. At exactly midnight, the teams had to hand the submittals into the judges.

"And the judges changed things in the middle of the day," Girvin said. "They did that several times, but that's common in construction. People make changes all the time."

However, while the team members said they had a fantastic time, they also agreed that 17 hours is a long time for four guys to be locked in a hotel room together. Perhaps too long…

"You really get to know your teammates pretty well," Rogers said.

The Vikings handed in their packet at the stroke of midnight and were then allowed to sleep until 7 a.m. Sunday, when they had to make a presentation to the judges. The presentation included a project overview, problem solutions, and visual aids, illustrated by Microsoft PowerPoint. Hudson Valley made it through the 20-minute presentation and stayed awake until the 2 p.m. awards ceremony.

The Vikings took third behind Wentworth Institute of Technology and Central Connecticut State University, who finished first. For their bronze-medal effort, each member of the Hudson Valley team received a computer software package that can be used for estimating.

"This was a great learning experience," Girvin said. "It's a real-world experience, something you can't quite get in school."

Hudson Valley Community College, located in Troy, offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs in four academic divisions; Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences. One of more than 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, Hudson Valley Community College has an enrollment of more than 9,000 students each year, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining.