VMI Students Get Engineering Exposure
Gary Neuser, Director Tactical Support Equipment Department, Ordnance School Campus, welcomes VMI Cadets during a Fort Lee BRAC Construction site visit March 2.

FORT LEE, VA. (March 11, 2010) -- A group of area college students got an up-close look at the various aspects of civil engineering during a visit to Fort Lee last week.

More than 30 students from the Virginia Military Institute received briefings and toured Ordnance Campus construction areas to help them comprehend the full spectrum of their chosen career fields.

"We're trying to expose our seniors to all aspects of civil engineering," said VMI civil engineering professor W. Grigg Mullen Jr. "We need to show them - from design through construction - what plans look like, what the construction process is, and give them some idea what they're going to get into when they get a job."

The trip, hosted by Albert Cruz, Base Realignment and Construction Office, began with briefings provided by the various firms contracted to design and build the Ordnance Campus, a $700 million BRAC construction project that will feature more than 30 new buildings when it is completed next year.

Following the briefing, the students toured the massive Hatcher Hall and other facilities. Project engineer John Barr, Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District, guided the students through the buildings, trying to convey to the students the level of difficulty involved in bringing projects to life.

"We tried to get them to understand the complexity of doing construction work," he said, "the magnitude (of construction) going on at Fort Lee, and give them some idea of the challenges that we faced out here during this two-year construction period and the challenges ahead of us."

The students went on to take a look at the hard-hat construction areas, toured the Tactical Support Equipment Department building and others and had lunch at the Home of the Ordnance Dining Facility, the largest Army-run dining facility in the world.

Cadet Timothy Howard said although his fellow students have toured construction areas in the past, Fort Lee offered something different.

"It's particularly neat with the (construction) program that they have here with the base consolidation, trying to get a lot of construction up quickly," he said.

Barr said he was glad to provide the students exposure to the various projects ongoing at Fort Lee.

"It is good for these young engineers to find out some of the neat and complicated things they can get involved with," he said, "be it civil, mechanical, electrical, engineering or what have you and that the Corps (of Engineers) is doing some really interesting work, not just here at Fort Lee, but throughout the nation."

Fort Lee is currently in the midst of a $1.7 billion BRAC construction project. The new construction will accommodate several schools moving from other installations to Fort Lee under the BRAC 2005 mandate.

VMI is a state-supported military school located in Lexington. It has an enrollment of 1,300 students.

Page last updated Thu March 11th, 2010 at 12:34