Construction science students at Texas A&M will soon learn to accurately estimate the cost of construction projects in a state-of-the-art lab funded by a $250,000 gift from San Antonio-based Joeris General Contractors.
The new cost estimation lab will be located in Francis Hall, which is scheduled to house the Department of Construction Science beginning in fall 2014 after a $8 million renovation financed by Texas A&M and donations to the department's ongoing Francis Hall Building Campaign.
“The new lab will provide students with the latest hardware and software applications to help them learn how to make accurate cost estimates and procure the right amount of construction materials,” said George Eustace, senior lecturer and industry relations coordinator for the Department of Construction Science.
Company president Gary Joeris announced the gift at a Nov. 14 leadership presentation to several construction science classes led by Joeris staffers including Blake LaRue ‘08, project manager and former construction science student.
Students will use the new space for two required construction estimating courses with lecture and lab components.
“A key aspect of the lab will be the ability to simulate a bid-day experience where students receive, review and select from a steady stream of bids presented by a variety of specialty contractors and develop a total project cost that responds to the owners' request for proposal,” said Eustace.
Joeris will also providing project plans and specifications for students to hone their estimating skills, as well as guest speakers with industry estimating experience.
“The lab will also be a workspace for estimating portions of other upper-level construction science courses, such as construction scheduling and capstone classes,” said Eustace.
Joeris said the company’s approximately 30 former Texas A&M construction science students are making valuable contributions to his company.
“They hit the ground running, and they learn fast,” Joeris told students and faculty gathered for the presentation. “We have some great talent that has come out of this program and we appreciate what you’re doing.”
At the Nov. 14 gift announcement, Joe Horlen, head of the Department of Construction Science, thanked Joeris, “not just your financial support, but your time and your commitment to make our program better. It really makes a difference to all the students, no matter where they go to work.”
The gift continues Joeris’ multifaceted partnership with the department.
Each year, the company sponsors a team of students in the annual Associated Schools of Construction’s commercial building competition.
To prepare the Texas A&M team, the company stages a mock contest modeled after the ASC competition, right down to a “lock-in” where the team is sequestered in a hotel room to create a construction proposal from documents from an actual Joeris project.
“Senior Joeris managers lead a tour of the project site and critique of the team's work," said Eustace. "The mock contest has been a key to the success of our teams over the years.”
The company, which has more than 45 years of experience and has performed $3 billion in construction projects throughout Texas, is also a major internship provider for Texas A&M construction science students.
“One of our students' key internship experiences is with Joeris’ Estimating and Preconstruction Services Department, where they learn the finer points of developing a competitive cost estimate for a variety of projects,” said Eustace.
Gary Joeris, who was presented with the department’s Constructor Hall of Fame Award in 2008 for his industry impact and support of the department, has also funded two endowed construction science scholarships, the The Joeris General Contractors, Ltd. Endowed Scholarship and the Leo S. Joeris Endowed Scholarship.
The company is also a longtime member of the Construction Industry Advisory Council, which advises construction science program administrators and faculty on contemporary construction issues and influences the department's strategic direction and course content.
For more information about the Francis Hall campaign contact Larry Zuber, assistant vice president for development, Texas A&M Foundation, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 979.845.0939.