SUNY Canton Students Aim to Build a Bridge Better, Faster and Stronger

SUNY Canton students will be competing in the 2014 American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Upstate New York Student Conference and Steel Bridge Competition.

The conference will be held April 24 to 26 at Cornell University, Ithaca. It will be the 18th time that the College has entered a steel bridge in the competition. SUNY Canton’s ASCE Student Chapter, commonly known as the steel bridge team, has won the regional competition 14 times prior.

Bridge team members said this year’s bridge is much more complex than the previous year’s bridges.

“We were trying to make it as light as possible,” said Ethan J. Fregoe, an Engineering Science major from Massena. “There are three times as many pieces and three times as many bolts as last year’s bridge.”

Pictured are (l to r) SUNY Canton Steel Bridge Team members Andrew C. Walker of Camden and Ethan J. Fregoe of Massena tightening the bolts on their competition-ready bridge.

Pictured are (l to r) SUNY Canton Steel Bridge Team members Andrew C. Walker of Camden and Ethan J. Fregoe of Massena tightening the bolts on their competition-ready bridge.

The challenge changes each year and students must come up with a completely new design to compete. This year’s objective is to rapidly replace a timber railroad trestle over a river. The line is essential for transporting ore from a lithium mine for a battery production facility, necessitating rapid construction of a replacement bridge.

Codi D. McKee of Barker, a Civil and Environmental Technology major and vice president of the steel bridge team, said that the competition helped him apply his education with hands-on practice. “Sometimes things you work out on paper don’t work in real life,” McKee said. “The real challenge is to apply everything you’ve learned into something tangible.”

McKee and former bridge team president William W. Corbine III of Potsdam designed the bridge together during the fall semester. Corbine graduated in December, 2013.

Rules of the competition dictate that students design and construct a scale model of a bridge that will meet all of the rules for the competition. Entries are evaluated on stiffness, lightness, construction speed, display, efficiency and economy, according to steel bridge team advisor Paul D. Hitchman, an instructional support associate in SUNY Canton’s Canino School of Engineering Technology.

Hitchman recently received a letter from ASCE commending the SUNY Canton student chapter’s vast improvement through increased student activities, community service and student leadership. “The Chapter’s accomplishments reflect the enthusiasm and hard work of your student officers and members, as well as your fine guidance as faculty advisor,” wrote Leslie Payne, ASCE director of student and younger member programs.

In addition to Fregoe and Mckee, steel bridge team members include:

  • Nathan A. Archer, an Industrial Technology major from Canton.
  • Alyssa M. Baker, a Civil and Environmental Technology major from Boonville. Baker is the President of the student run club.
  • Michael Crowner, a Civil and Environmental Technology major from Gouverneur.
  • Gregory R. Denner, a Civil and Environmental Technology major from Ogdensburg.
  • Michael J. Verstraete, a Mechanical Engineering Technology major from Marion.
  • Andrew C. Walker, a Mechanical Engineering Technology major from Camden.

Dennis Tuper, an Automotive Technology instructional support associate and Paul P. Nasados, a Civil and Environmental Technology assistant professor join Hitchman as the steel bridge team’s advisors.

 

About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier College for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and certificate programs. The College delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management, and public service to students in the North Country, New York State, and beyond. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to their academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as eight exclusively online bachelor’s degrees. The College’s 14 athletic teams compete in state-of-the-art facilities as provisional members of the NCAA Division III and the USCAA.

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