CoSci students finish second in contest to develop Austin theater

Construction science students at Texas A&M developed construction plans for an Austin theater to finish second in a field of 11 teams at an Associated Schools of Construction Region V student competition held Feb. 14 in Dallas.

The seven-student team is coached by George Eustace, senior construction science lecturer, and sponsored by Joeris General Contractors, Inc.

ASC competition team

From left are competition team members Josh Fluker, Matt Luchak, David Claros, Sam Garrett, James Goss, Charles “Chip” Myers and Ethan Cook.

The ASC contest was hosted by TEXO, an association representing general contractors in North and East Texas that works to build a unified construction community by promoting loyalty and leadership. TEXO is Latin for “to build, to weave, and to construct.”

Student teams in the contest’s commercial building category were asked to produce a building proposal for the Zachary Scott Theater Center in Austin, a 28,000 square-foot, $11 million building. 

Contest rules require teams to be locked in one room for the duration of their proposal preparation; the Aggie students got the request at 8 a.m. Feb. 12 then spent the next 16 hours in Langford A 217, leaving only for bathroom breaks. 

The team consisted of Ethan Cook, project manager; Matt Luchak, superintendent; David Claros, project executive; Charles Myers, mechanical, engineering and plumbing coordinator; James Goss, chief estimator; Sam Garrett, assistant superintendent; and Josh Fluker, alternate. 

“We worked on showing how we would approach the project and things that might be potential issues on the job,” said Cook.  

During the preparation phase of the contest, the only contact students had with the world outside of their hotel room was an occasional food delivery from Eustace. 

“He would bring in a cooler and some pizzas, turn around and walk out without saying anything,” said Cook. 

The students submitted their proposal at midnight Sunday, emerged from their lock-in then traveled to Dallas later that day. Monday, the team made its presentation to a group of industry professionals from JE Dunn Construction Company, which sponsored the contest. 

“Their success earned the attention of several companies that granted team members interviews for jobs and internships,” said Eustace.  

It was one of the youngest teams Texas A&M has fielded for the annual competition, he added. “Ethan and Matt, both seniors, provided strong leadership to the juniors on the team,” he said. 

Key to the Texas A&M team’s success, Eustace said, was their participation in a mock contest staged earlier in the semester in San Antonio and run by Joeris using the ASC format.

“It helped a lot,” said Cook, “because it was more in-depth than the one we did for the ASC competition. We got to see some of the actual materials Joeris takes to a potential client and we got really good feedback on how to present ourselves.”

During a lock-in at a hotel conference room for the mock contest, the team created a proposal for a current Joeris project, a multi-phase job that included building a performing arts center and new gym at a San Antonio high school. 

After presenting their proposal, Joeris representatives provided team members with a thorough critique, then took the team to the job site. 

At the ASC competition in Dallas, three scholarships were awarded to construction science students through TEXO’s Education and Research Foundation’s Student Scholarship Program, funded by the association’s members, who determine recipients after interviewing selected applicants. 

David Claros was awarded $3,000, Morgan Hall $1,500 and Jason Carroll $1,000 through the program. 

A $5,000 grant request for new surveying equipment by Kenneth Williamson, associate professor of construction science, was funded through TEXO’s University Construction Department Grants program. 

The association funds requests for university projects, learning materials, educational outings and equipment.

posted April 15, 2011