Colorado State University’s commercial construction management team took first place recently in the 15th annual Professional Construction Management Student Competition held in Reno, Nev. The team competed against seven other universities in their region and won $1,500 and a bid to compete in the national competition in Las Vegas, Nev., March 18-22.
Sponsored by the Associated Schools of Construction, six-member teams of college students worked from 6:30 a.m. to midnight, isolated in hotel rooms, to devise ways to build an 180,000-square-foot, three-story office building. Teams were required to include a time schedule, cost estimate, construction management, safety and sales plans. The students had access to limited resources, such a textbooks, and their own technical know-how. After the teams completed their plans, they presented them to a panel of industry representatives.
"We had to act as a company selling the project," said Dave Sandlin, a student on Colorado State’s commercial team. "Putting together such a complex proposal and having the industry experts place us first is definitely an indication that what we’re learning at Colorado State is preparing us for the real world of work."
The heavy civil team, also competing for Colorado State’s construction management program, placed third in the regional competition and won $500. The heavy civil problem was a power plant expansion project that required site excavation, concrete and cost analysis.
"One of the more important aspects of participating in construction management student competitions is the teamwork that’s involved," said David Crawford, a member of Colorado State’s heavy civil team. "Teamwork is a major component in our industry and critical to success of any construction project."
In a recent special report published by the Engineering News-Record studying the nation’s construction schools, Colorado State University’s program, in the college of Applied Human Sciences, was listed as having the largest student enrollment in the nation at 630 students.
Construction management is an emerging profession. Construction schools across the country were first accredited 25 years ago, but the programs are becoming more popular than ever with students.
"It’s a double-edge sword in some respects," said Larry Grosse, department chair for the Department of Manufacturing Technology and Construction Management at Colorado State. "It’s challenging to have the same level of resources yet try to keep up with the increasing number of students, so we’ll look at tightening requirements."
The report also found that the construction management program at Colorado State has the largest number of women graduates in the country and is listed as fourth in the number of organizations that recruit its students.
Colorado State’s program started about 56 years ago. The complex nature of industry, which involves human resources, trade associations, government agencies, financial markets and comprehensive management skills, has led to the importance of degree programs in the field.
"Our students learn about economics, engineering, science of materials and human resource management," Gross said. "When they graduate, they’re ready for the workplace because they’ve learned more than academic subjects, they’ve learned how to run a business."
Colorado State University is the only university in the state to offer a comprehensive, independent undergraduate and graduate degree program in construction management.
For more information about the Manufacturing Technology and Construction Management program at Colorado State, visit the Web at www.cahs.colostate.edu/mtcm.