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K-State Today

February 9, 2017



K-State Associated General Contractors of America Student Chapter completes winter break service project in Birmingham, Alabama

By Frank Sandoval

The Associated General Contractors of America Student Chapter at K-State, from the architectural engineering and construction science department, recently returned from its annual winter break service project. Twenty chapter members, along with faculty advisors and a construction industry representative, participated in Habitat for Humanity's Collegiate Challenge program Jan. 8-14 in Birmingham, Alabama.

The students, faculty advisors Shannon Casebeer, assistant professor, and Ray Buyle, associate professor, both in the architectural engineering and construction science department; and Gregg Oblinger, executive vice president of Simpson Construction Services, Wichita, spent five days building a new Habitat for Humanity home, as well as working on multiple smaller projects to refurbish existing homes. For the 2,000-square-feet new home, the group worked on framing, installation of pre-engineered trusses, sheeting of exterior walls, installation of interior wood blocking, window placement and siding installation. Other small projects included concrete pavement demolition, construction of a new wood deck and sidewalk for handicap access to an existing home, exterior painting, and exterior improvements and a deck replacement to a third home.

Branson Kocher, junior in construction science management, Onaga, and alternative break coordinator for the student chapter, was instrumental in planning this year's event, which marks the ninth consecutive year that the student chapter has conducted this type of service project. Kocher organized the trip to Alabama through Habitat for Humanity International's Collegiate Challenge and the Birmingham Habitat for Humanity affiliate. Collegiate Challenge is a program which serves as a clearing house for local affiliates looking to host a home build event for university student groups over their respective school breaks. K-State's group was joined by 12 Collegiate Challenge participants from St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York.

Previous alternative break service projects include:

  • 2009, 2010 and 2011 — New Orleans, Louisiana 
  • 2012 — Joplin, Missouri
  • 2013 — St. Louis, Missouri
  • 2014 — Goldsboro, North Carolina
  • 2015 — Mobile, Alabama
  • 2016 — Taos, New Mexico

Student chapter officers and construction science students Sam Roldan, junior, Overland Park, and Phinehas Adams, freshman, Prairie Village, are putting the finishing touches on a soon-to-be-released YouTube video that documents this year's Birmingham Alternative Break service project.

Other construction science student participants included A.J/ Wertzberger, junior, Alma; Alejandra Martinez, senior, Dodge City; Christopher Jungk, senior, Leawood; Laura Troyer, senior, Louisburg; Diego Sanchez Moreno, junior, and Garret Seeger, junior, both from Manhattan; Sean Mitchell, senior and chapter president, Mission; Dawson Borcherding, sophomore, Luis Cardenas, sophomore, and Tate Lancaster, senior, all from Overland Park; Carter Tobisch, senior, Sedgwick; Lucas Knehans, senior, Shawnee; Drew Deters, sophomore, Silver Lake; Randal Chushuk, sophomore, Stilwell; Brett Moon, sophomore, Wichita; and 
Brett Holloway, freshman, Yates Center.   

From out of state: Katherine Clark, senior in architectural engineering, North Billerica, Massachusetts.