Middle Tennessee State University officials cut the ribbon Thursday, October 13th to officially open a new $40.1 million School of Concrete and Construction Management Students are just beginning to take advantage of the west side of the campus as they prepare for professional careers in a sector that is in high demand throughout downtown and beyond.
The 54,000-square-foot facility will serve as an integrated, experimental learning laboratory for 135 existing concrete industry management majors and 200 commercial construction management students, a significant change from the nearly 9,000 square feet of space in the Voorhies Engineering Technology Building.
Among the building’s many features are a 200-seat auditorium, four core materials and building laboratories, custom electro-mechanical plumbing, or MEP, a classroom, a covered amphitheater, two computer labs, including a virtual design and construction lab capable of developing building models and construction simulations as well To the Augmented Virtual Reality Lab for immersive experiences.
Program officials said the average student graduating from the program is more than $60,000 in starting salary and has an employment rate of close to 100%.
The nation’s finest programs
Described by University President Sydney A. McPhee as “the beginning of a new chapter in the success of the MTSU CIM (Concrete Industry Management) and CCM (Commercial Construction Management) programs… With a dedication today, we publicly reaffirm our commitment to maintaining the nation’s best concrete management program and construction.”
McPhee said he was “amazed at the many ways concrete has been used in design and construction. Students will see firsthand how the many forms of concrete can add value and creativity to a structure. The building is a veritable living laboratory, with examples of different building techniques and operating systems that work.” in full view of the students.
Construction is a $1 trillion industry that affects every aspect of life – where we live, work, learn, shop, eat and more. Kelly Strong, director of the College of Construction and Concrete Management, said there are 1,800 graduates from Concrete Industry Management (1,100) and Commercial Construction Management (600) “and they are leaders in our industry.”
McVeigh salutes industry partners who raised $5 million in similar project funding and who “have been incredibly generous with their time and resources, enabling us to have a fantastic facility for our students.” He also introduced several other MTSU supporters, including members of the Board of Trustees, led by Steve Smith, and state legislators.
The construction company was Hoar Construction based in Birmingham, Alabama. Orcut/Winslow was the architect. Construction began in January 2021 and ended in September.
The new facility represents an expansion of the university’s innovation corridor at the heart of the campus, which is anchored by state-of-the-art science buildings. In the coming years, SCCM will have a new neighbor as the Applied Engineering Building will be built in the same area of the campus.
continuation of the legacy
Referring to the alumni, Strong asked if they could “imagine this new building be your legacy? Our celebration today is a tribute to your success and the imprint you have made on the concrete and construction industries.”
“Your continued commitment to our programs is the cornerstone of our success, and you, along with our friends and industry partners, have made this building possible. In addition to contributions to the building, we are grateful for the continued support of our students” from Concrete, CIM Canopy, General Contractors Associated with Central Tennessee, and the Home Builders Association of Tennessee.
Strong commended the efforts of his staff and faculty at the mid-semester step, and the sincere support of industry partners.
Southern Concrete Machines owner Chris Davenport (class of 2000), of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the first CIM graduate, was among the speakers, as was Jesse Boone (’08), CIM Patrons president and Road Worx business development director, who told the large crowds gathered for the event that left She is in school, but she made a life-changing decision to go back and be a part of CIM.
Austin Chaney was the initial CIM director. Heather Brown, of Murfreesboro, has directed CIM for 20 years. During her tenure, both programs were under the umbrella of the School of Concrete and Construction Management.
“For me, it is more than just a building. It is more than just a building,” said Brown, who was warmly welcomed by the attendees for her tireless efforts to help make the new building a reality. She referred to a poem read by John Huddleston, Associate Professor and Director of CIM, to close the event which highlighted the importance of bridge building For people who will follow you in life.
“The poem resonated with me. That’s what I said all the time, I don’t build buildings,” Brown said. “Today has peaked for me. I felt like a legacy from several key people who had died who were now shining. The people who were here. People who could not come.
“The buildings are great, but that was about the people. That’s a testament to how special CIM is. It’s definitely student success, alumni success. I was so excited to come here today, but almost equally excited to see the people – all the alumni that I had a small part of Their lives….Universities can create special micro-worlds of relationships. It’s really good that MTSU has a special program like this.”
In several years, SCCM will have a new neighbor. The Applied Engineering Building It will be built in the same area of the campus.
Dean and student point of view
Dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, Greg Van Patten, said MTSU’s School of Concrete and Construction Management “is producing graduates who are in unusually high demand throughout the United States, but especially in Middle Tennessee, where there is a lot of growth and development.”
Van Patten said the structure is “a cutting-edge educational tool – a functional building with educational elements deliberately and cleverly integrated into its design. For the first time, we will have classrooms and laboratories designed from the beginning with the specific purpose of teaching students construction management and the management of the concrete industry.”
MTSU junior concrete pioneer Eric Rickman of Franklin, Tennessee, first saw the building on Wednesday, a day before speaking on behalf of the students. He calls it “amazing, with all the new equipment and all the details that went into it.” It appreciates all industry donors’ who have contributed money to the facility. They give back financially to students in the coming years. This building means a lot of hope (for future growth).
Rickman, whose immediate family attended, worked part-time (currently), full-time (summer) and trained with Hi-Way Paving. He plans to graduate in May 2023.
To see a video from the event, visit over here.