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The Columbia City Trailhead: A Collaborative Construction Engineering Technology Capstone Experience

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

ETD Design IV: Construction and Civil Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1434.1 - 22.1434.15



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Paper Authors


Barry Dupen Indiana University Purdue University, Fort Wayne

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Dr. Dupen is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology at Indiana University Purdue University, Fort Wayne (IPFW). He has nine years’ experience as a metallurgist, materials engineer, and materials laboratory manager in the automotive industry. His primary interests lie in materials engineering, mechanics, and engineering technology education. He is an experienced contra dance caller.

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Regina Leffers Indiana University Purdue University, Fort Wayne

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Regina Leffers, Ph.D. is the Director of the Center for the Built Environment and professor of Construction Engineering Technology at IPFW. She is a founding member and past President of the Northeast Indiana Green Build Coalition, and was Co-Chair of Mayor Graham Richard’s Green Ribbon Commission for the City of Fort Wayne. Her book, Sustainable Construction and Design, was published by Prentice Hall in May, 2009. One current manuscript, being written with Architect Matt Kubik, and colleague Pat Ashton, is called: "The Green Age: Transforming Your Life Choices for the 21st Century" is nearly ready to submit for publication. A second manuscript, "Technology and Sustainability from a World Perspective," has chapters written by colleagues and graduate students from different departments at IPFW, and will be ready for publication by spring of 2011.

Some of her current efforts are going toward redesigning an existing building on campus into a Sustainable Construction and Renewable Energy Lab. Briefly, the goals of the building are that it be: 1.) a Positive energy building, using renewable sources to create more than enough energy to fund itself and neighboring buildings; 2.) Net-zero for storm water output; and 3.) a Living example of sustainable construction. The building itself will educate. All energy systems, mechanical, electrical, and renewable, will be transparent.

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The Columbia City Trailhead: A Collaborative Construction Engineering Technology Capstone ExperienceIn 2010, a collaborative effort between a nonprofit trail advocacy organization, a small ruralIndiana city, trade unions, grantmaking organizations, materials suppliers, contractors, and theConstruction Engineering Technology program at ______________ led to the successfulconstruction of a trailhead building in a city park. Multidisciplinary collaboration began with adesign charrette in January, bringing together architects, brickmasons, carpenters, electricians,engineers, greenbuilding experts, landscapers, professors, and students. Starting with a site planby a local architect and a construction blueprint from another trailhead elsewhere in the state,charrette participants improved the design and site location. Students completed the design,obtained approval from the customer (the nonprofit trail group), and obtained approval fromlocal and state governments. Because this was a capstone course, students were required todemonstrate knowledge and skills they acquired during their four-year degree program. As such,they created the blueprints of the new design, estimated costs and materials, scheduled theconstruction, and fulfilled the role of project manager. Construction professionals mentored thestudents as they built the trailhead restroom. The magic words “student project” led to substantialdonations of money, labor, excavating, and materials from many sources. As a result, the projectwas completed at one-quarter the price bid by a private contractor. Assessment of studentlearning was conducted by the instructor, departmental colleagues, and working constructionprofessionals.

Dupen, B., & Leffers, R. (2011, June), The Columbia City Trailhead: A Collaborative Construction Engineering Technology Capstone Experience Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18634

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