May 6, 2015
by Keli Jacobi
Six seniors enrolled in UALR’s Civil and Construction Engineering Program presented an engineering project for the American Red Cross headquarters designed to increase the likelihood of remaining operational following an earthquake.
The presentation, free and open to the public, was given Tuesday, May 5, in the Engineering and Information Technology auditorium.
The project’s goal was to identify structural modifications that would allow the Little Rock-based facility to become more resistant to earthquakes through seismic retrofitting.
The building serves as the blood collection, processing, and storage supply location for various blood products to hospitals in the region.
The project’s goal was important because if an earthquake occurs in the New Madrid seismic zone, the Red Cross must deliver vital disaster relief services, according to Associate Professor Nickolas Jovanovic of the UALR Department of Construction Management and Civil and Construction Engineering.
The students stressed that if an earthquake severely damaged the Red Cross facility, the supply of blood products to hospitals would be cut off, which would intensify disaster relief efforts.
“Many lives could be lost due to lack of blood products, over and above the loss of life due to the earthquake itself,” Jovanovic added.
The seniors presenting their work included Sarah Brown, Joshua Hendricks, Angela Matika, Whitney Montague, Esteban Rodriguez, and Essie Whitmore.
All six seniors recently passed the American Institute of Constructor’s Associate Constructor exam on the first try.
The Arkansas Society of Professional Engineers conducted a short meeting at UALR and then adjourned to evaluate the senior presentation.
More about the project
Since last August, the seniors have been meeting every other week with structural engineers from Cromwell Architects Engineers and CDI Contractors to make progress reports and get technical assistance.
To prepare for the presentation, the seniors learned to use state-of-the-art structural modeling, design, and analysis software, as well as actual building codes and standards.
“The project was realistic in the sense that it is similar to what structural engineers do every day; there is much more work done to existing buildings than construction of new buildings,” said Jovanovic.
Among the project’s sponsors is Joe Hilliard, director of engineering at Cromwell Architects Engineers of Little Rock, who also serves on the Board for the American Red Cross of Greater Arkansas (ARCGA).
Hilliard has invited the executive director and other key people of ARCGA to the presentation.
In addition to Hilliard, other industry sponsors include Mike Callahan, Paul Timko, and Larry Newkirk, all of Cromwell Architects Engineers, and Jeff Borgsmiller of CDI Contractors, Inc.
The faculty advisors for the project include Jovanovic and Dr. Hollis G. Bray.