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The Suburbanite
  • Students build, break bridges at Springfield High School

  • Students at Springfield High School placed second and 16th in the annual Summit County Engineer's Miniature Bridge Building Competition at the University of Akron.

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  • Students at Springfield High School placed second and 16th in the annual Summit County Engineer's Miniature Bridge Building Competition at the University of Akron.
    The team of Ty Bailey, Brad Cain and James Williams took second place in the competition.
    “This accomplishment is even more impressive considering that all three of these students are freshman and the majority of contestants were juniors and seniors,” said Pete Geiss, technology teacher and Bridge Building Team adviser. “Our team of senior Brody Westover, junior Colton Westover and junior Tony McMullen finished respectably in 16th place.”
    The teams said bridges are based on efficiency. Bridges had to be no more than 12 inches in length and were measured for efficiency by how much the bridge weighed and how much weight the structure could withstand before breaking.
    “We had to drill a hole in the middle of the bridge, and they connected a bucket to it. Then they filled the bucket with nuts and bolts until the bridge broke,” Brody Westover said.
    The bucket was weighed to measure how many pounds the structure held before breaking.
    The bridge of the second place team held 49.3 pounds before giving way. They had an efficiency rating of 853. The 16th place team's bridge held its own up until 33.4 pounds and received an efficiency rating of 514. The closer to 1,000, the more efficient the bridge is.
    Students send an auto cad design for their bridge into the engineer's office before building it.
    “There are certain rules,” Colton Westover said. “There are length restrictions and many others.”
    Colton and Brody Westover are veteran bridge builders and were on the team that took 12th in last year's contest. The students build a model before the contest, but the one they use the day of the competition is built on site that day.
    Anyone can participate in the program, but most students are from technology classes. Each of the students participating from Springfield has an interest in engineering. Brody Westover shadowed a bridge engineer for the county during the summer because of his participation in last year’s competition.
    Geiss said 34 teams from schools in Summit County participated. Each was given three hours to construct the strongest bridge possible. Aside from the problem-solving and engineering aspects of this challenge, there were other benefits and challenges as well.
    Students who participated are eligible for a scholarship to the University of Akron and were able to meet and interact with several engineers from various companies sponsoring the event.
    McMullen said the Springfield teams had a chance to meet legendary football coach Jim Tressel, who spoke to the group as the university’s vice president of strategic engagement.  
    “He was gracious enough to take the time to shake hands with our students and have his picture taken with them and their bridges,” Geiss said. “But the highlight was the team taking second place. All of these young men were great representatives of their school and their community. I am very excited to say that we did Spartan Nation proud.”

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