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Construction students prepare for shelter competition

Students in Pittsburg State’s School of Construction are gearing up for their second trip to the John Brown University shelter design competition.

Students in Pittsburg State’s School of Construction are gearing up for their second trip to the John Brown University shelter design competition.

The 2015 contest, which challenges teams to design and a build a prototype of a disaster shelter for rapid deployment and set-up, is sponsored by JBU and Samaritan’s Purse. It will take place April 23-25 at JBU in Siloam Spring, Ark.

The Pittsburg State team finished second in the competition last year, and they have set their sights on winning the contest this year.

“I think everyone is up to the challenge of improving upon how we did last year,” said Assistant Professor Norman Philipp. “This is a great challenge for the students, and it’s also an incredibly valuable educational tool. Not only do they have to build this shelter, they have to design it. It forces them to respond to a creative challenge as well as a construction task.”

This year’s competition challenges the teams to “design and build a full-scale prototype of a shelter that would be appropriate for response to an earthquake disaster in Pakistan, similar to the 2005 earthquake in Balakot, Pakistan.”

The 2014 challenge was to construct a rapidly deployable transitional disaster shelter that would meet the needs of a typical Syrian family who are seeking refuge in border camps along the Syrian border in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

“The specific challenge is much different than in 2014, so it will be interesting to see what the students come up with in terms of design,” Philipp said.

Also unlike last year, there will be two teams representing Pitt State in this year’s competition. One team will be traditional PSU construction management students. The other will be a team of students from Gyeongsang National University in Jinju, South Korea, who are at Pitt State this semester as part of an exchange program.

Philipp, who is serving as program coordinator for the PSU/GNU joint program, said he’s happy to offer this opportunity to the Korean students.

“I think it’s really neat that they’re getting to take part in this competition with us,” he said. “It will be a great experience for them, and it’s also a great opportunity for our students to work alongside students from a different culture.”

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