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Bob Jones engineering students ‘bid’ to build barn

MADISON – Like a firm bidding on a federal contract, senior engineering students at Bob Jones High School prepared blueprints, cost estimates and three-dimensional drawings for an actual building project.

Seniors in the Engineering for Tomorrow Academy at Bob Jones presented blueprints, cost estimates and three-dimensional drawings to bid on an actual building project. (CONTRIBUTED)
Seniors in the Engineering for Tomorrow Academy at Bob Jones presented blueprints, cost estimates and three-dimensional drawings to bid on an actual building project. (CONTRIBUTED)

Seniors in the Engineering for Tomorrow Academy at Bob Jones completed the design work for a pole barn that assistant principal John Wilson plans to build on his land.

Bob Jones Principal Robby Parker compared the project to bids on an actual government contract. “Students modeled how Huntsville companies fight for government contracts and must please their customer,” Parker said.

Wilson proposed the project to engineering teachers Jeremy Raper and Jessye Gaines. Wilson needed documentation to secure accurate construction quotes from different companies. “We decided our senior class could deliver the best results,” Gaines said.

In the “Engineering Internship: Research and Design” class, 24 seniors divided into five teams, each competing for Wilson’s ‘contract’ for construction drawings/renderings. Using Wilson’s specifications and requests, teams quizzed the ‘client,’ researched pole barn construction and sketched rough drafts.

The students’ challenge was “to propose the best design possible — same principle, smaller magnitude,” Gaines said. “They extended their own creativity while adhering first and foremost to the client’s needs” and learned “to weigh pros and cons of various design ideas.”

Teams produced hand-drawn and computer-generated blueprints and 3D models. In formal presentations to Wilson, they answered his design questions.

After estimating materials quantities, the Bob Jones students used various websites for pricing per unit and estimating labor costs. “Mr. Wilson requested the project stay under $10,000. Most designs were estimated between $6,500 to $,9000 for parts and labor,” Gaines said.

Students used Siemens’ Solid Edge ST4 software, provided free to Bob Jones. “They’re trained to use Solid Edge in the junior-level engineering course at Bob Jones,” Gaines said.

With Solid Edge, students “imposed their simulated constructions onto a picture, similar to the property Mr. Wilson will build on. This allowed the client to visualize size, color and material of various designs from multiple angles,” Gaines said.

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