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Unprecedented Change to Civil Engineers' Field Session

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Written by Emily McNair

Posted on 30 March 2014

Civil engineers partaking in field session this summer will have a new challenge to contend with: updating campus buildings. The recent influx of students has increased the need for larger lecture halls and current buildings are being used to capacity. Incoming freshmen classes keep growing, which has been putting strain on already aging facilities. More and more students crowd small classrooms and residence halls are often over capacity. To compensate, Mines can do one of two things: increase the number of buildings or increase the capacity of those it already has. Rather than increase the number of buildings on campus and remove Kafadar Commons, the administration is looking to make current buildings taller.

"We'll be asking our students to both strengthen current structures as well as add additional floors," a source close to the administration explained. "This allows Mines to keep with its master plan while providing the best possible facilities to our students."

During field session, civil engineering students will be asked to select one of four buildings: Alderson Hall, Berthoud Hall, Meyer Hall, or the Green Center. They will suggest ways to strengthen the current structure to allow for more floors as well as propose layouts for two additional floors. The layouts must include at least one lecture hall and, except for Alderson, should include a computer lab. This new construction should use primarily recycled materials while keeping with the original design of the building.

An outside firm will rate these upgrades and select the best. Those that are selected will be implemented within the next ten years. The students that suggested the winning designs will receive $600.

Students gave mixed reviews on this change to field session. "I like the idea," Bob Schmidt said, "but I hope this isn't just an attempt to extort us. Why should we be paying them to allow us to design stuff?" Other students were more hopeful. "At least we'll have a chance to leave our mark on campus," Sherri White said.

Professors, however, were against the change. "Not all of my students want to design buildings," a professor explained, "this will be useless to them. We ought to provide this opportunity as a variation to field session rather than require all of our students to do it."

Students do have the choice to delay field session to a later date when this temporary change has expired. However, few students would be willing to follow this route and will instead take this opportunity to show Mines what they think of this plan. "I'll make sure to create an ugly fifth floor for Alderson," an unnamed student said, "and I'll laugh when everyone's stuck with it."

The administration is looking for more opinions on this proposal for changing field session. Comments can be sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Colorado School of Mines

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