LB Welding Students Collaborate with OSU Civil Engineering Students to Compete in the ASCE Bridge Building Competition

Second-year welding students Erik Arnesen and Christopher Batman, and welding instructor Nick Collins, with the bridge that was entered in the ASCE steel bridge building contest. Photo by Brenda Autry

A once long-standing partnership between OSU’s civil engineering students, and LBCC’s welding students has been revived this year thanks to LBCC welding instructor Nick Collins. 

Every year, OSU civil engineering students compete in the Pacific Northwest Student Symposium Steel Bridge Competition, put on by the American Society of Civil Engineering. Until about 1992, the welding students from LBCC would do the welding and fabrication work on the bridges that OSU students designed.

“I was doing some research on something completely unrelated and came across some old forms for the steel bridge building competition,” said Collins. “I reached out to some of the instructors at OSU to find out if they were still competing, and asked if they were interested in working with our students again.”

No one seems to know why the collaboration ended back in the early ’90s, but OSU was happy to work with the students from LBCC again.

Two second-year students from the welding program were chosen to compete with the team: Christopher Batman and Erik Arnesen. 

“We chose students based on their skill level and their attendance records,” said Collins.

Both Batman and Arenson did the welding and fabrication work on the bridge, but due to scheduling issues, only Batman was able to travel with the team to the competition, which took place April 13-15 at Montana State University in Bozeman.

“It was pretty cool seeing all the different minds coming together and all the different ways the bridges got designed,” said Batman.

The contest is judged on aesthetics, cost of materials, weight of the bridge, load capability, and the time it takes to assemble it. Unfortunately, this year, the OSU team was disqualified for going over the allotted time of 45 minutes. 

Even though they didn’t win, the students still enjoyed the experience. 

“I learned a lot from this,” said Batman. “There’s a lot more planning that goes into bridges than I thought. I liked the hands-on experience and working with engineers and actual fabricators. But the biggest lesson I learned was I don’t need to make things too complicated.”

Collins said he intends to keep the collaboration going in the future. And Erik Arnesen will be competing in the competition again next year, as well.

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