Sources: Ray Buyle, 785-532-3577, rbuyle@k-state.edu;
and Kyle Montoya, montoyak@k-state.edu
Hometown interest: Abilene, Holyrood, Manhattan and Topeka.
Photos available: http://www.k-state.edu/media/images/nov11/113willieplatform.jpg and http://www.k-state.edu/media/images/nov11/113willieplatform2.jpg
Photo cutlines: No. 1 -- The completed platform; No. 2 -- Willie celebrating after a score during the Oct. 29 game against Oklahoma.
News release prepared by: Tyler Sharp, 785-532-2535, tmsharp@k-state.edu

Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011

A wildcat victory: Student organization designs, builds new pushup platform for Willie the Wildcat

MANHATTAN -- A time-honored tradition at Kansas State University football games has received an upgrade thanks to a College of Engineering student organization.

The student chapter of Associated General Contractors designed and constructed a new pushup platform for the university's athletic mascot, Willie the Wildcat. Following all points scored by the K-State football team, Willie does the same number of pushups as the team's total score, all while on a raised platform. The new Willie platform was unveiled at the Oct. 8 game against the University of Missouri.

Kyle Montoya, junior in construction science and management, Holyrood, and vice president of the university's student chapter of the Associated General Contractors, said helping the cheerleading team with the project was fun.

"To be able to help out our university as well as get experience in construction was great," Montoya said. "Also with this project, the fans were able to see an end product that will last for years to come."

Students invested approximately 40 hours of work in the design and construction of the new Willie board. Its frame is constructed of 1 and 1/4 inches by 3 and 5/8 inches steel studs and track, which are used on commercial building construction for wall partition assemblies. A sheet of heavy-gauge expanded metal welded to the frame forms the deck of the board. Carriage bolts were used for support legs, donated door pulls were used for the handles, and an area body shop donated the spray application of pickup truck bed liner to the entire assembly. Nonslip paint was also used for the deck and Powercat logo. Industrial corner guards were installed to the outside corners and foam padding to the bottom rail that rests on the male cheerleaders' shoulders.

The Structural Engineers Association of Kansas and Missouri student chapter reviewed the board's design for structural adequacy. The Associated General Contractors student chapter contacted local businesses to seek material donations, which allowed the project to be completed under budget. These businesses included: Green Ford Body Shop, Abilene; Hi-Tech Interiors Inc., Manhattan; and HME Inc., Topeka.The K-State Division of Facilities and department of biological and agricultural engineering donated additional resources.

"The volunteer projects undertaken by our Associated General Contractors student chapter are invaluable for applying learned skills, as well as for developing leadership and an appreciation for giving back to the community," said Ray Buyle, assistant professor of architectural engineering and construction science and faculty adviser to the chapter. "This project really underscored the value of collaborative efforts and I am very appreciative of these types of learning experiences for our students."