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K-State Today

May 7, 2015



Students, faculty, donors help construct new Konza Prairie bridge

By Communications and Marketing

The old bridge is on the left and the new bridge is on the right.

A bridge on the Konza Prairie Biological Station public hiking trail has been replaced with help from faculty, students and donors.

The K-State Student Chapter of the Associated General Contractors designed and built the new bridge. Chapter president Brad Halbleib, senior in construction science and management, Oakley, with help from advisor Ray Buyle, assistant professor of architectural engineering and construction science, led the project.

The old bridge was made from a 32-foot-long log with treated lumber decking that lacked handrails and was subject to considerable sway, even under minimal loads.

The initial design of the new bridge started in August 2014 and was approved after a meeting in December with Konza Prairie administration. Construction started after spring break and the bridge was completed at the end of April.

The project provided a learning experience for the Associated General Contractors student chapter by allowing the students to participate in the entire planning, design and construction process. The new bridge consists of concrete supports with pressure treated joists, decking and rails, which greatly increases the functionality and safety of the bridge.

Several local companies, K-State student groups and community members donated time, money and supplies. Business and association donors include The Associated General Contractors of Kansas, Topeka; Cater-Waters Construction Materials, Kansas City, Missouri; Cash Lumber and Hardware Inc., Manhattan; HME Inc., Topeka; Key Construction Inc., Wichita; Midwest Concrete Materials Inc., Manhattan; Riley Construction; and Target.

K-State student associations, departments and faculty involved in the project include the architectural engineering and construction science department; Konza Prairie staff; James Koelliker, professor emeritus; Kimberly Kramer, professor; Allan Goodman, associate professor; and Katie Loughmiller, instructor; architectural engineering and construction science department; Kansas State Student Chapter of the Structural Engineers Association of Kansas and Missouri; and the American Concrete Institute student chapter.

Konza Prairie, an 8,600-acre native tallgrass prairie research station, is jointly owned by Kansas State University and The Nature Conservancy and managed by the university's Division of Biology in the College of Arts & Sciences.