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Morning Sun
  • iPlanning for success

  • Being on the cutting edge is a point of pride for the School of Construction at Pittsburg State University.



    In December, the program added a new item to its high-tech toolbox with the acquisition of the 88th iPlan Table produced.

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  • Being on the cutting edge is a point of pride for the School of Construction at Pittsburg State University.
    In December, the program added a new item to its high-tech toolbox with the acquisition of the 88th iPlan Table produced.
    “We’re the first construction management program in the United States to get one, according to them,” said Assistant Professor Bill Strenth.
    The iPlan Table is a PC-based unit featuring a 55-inch touchscreen and is equipped with software programs that allow all sorts of insight into a construction project.
    “In the construction industry, there are always so many changes,” Strenth said, noting that one of the biggest advantages of the unit is that blueprint changes can be made with ease and without constant reprints.
    The changes also are updated to a server system, allowing anyone on the management team with a tablet-type device to have the updated plans.
    Strenth said this makes projects more sustainable and can help cut costs.
    He cited the University’s new Center for the Arts and its 350 pages of blueprints as an example, and said reprinting the blueprints could easily run $1,000 per modification.
    Students are quickly learning to use the table, and senior Seth Russell said he is using it for his senior project, which is working on estimates for a new facility at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson.
    Russell demonstrated some of the work he is doing for his project, including learning new software programs that accompany the table.
    “We’re doing all the pre-construction services for the senior project,” he said, and he showed how some of the programs can be used to run value-engineering estimates so a customer can quickly see estimates for different materials or other cost-saving changes.
    Russell said the plans for this project were pre-purchased by the state fair board and the team already has written in modifications, including adding an elevator to ensure compliance with ADA laws. The final building will be known as “The White House” and will replace a current building. It will house a museum and gift shop, as well as a kitchen and conference room.
    “It’s a pretty awesome experience for a senior project,” Russell said.
    He said the team opted to use the iPlan table when it became available.
    “We have meetings here with the project team,” he said.
    The team includes five students who each are taking a different management role in the project.
    Russell said the iPlan table helps when a team gets together and that its size allows several people to see details at one time, which prompts better dialogue and insight.
    “When you have more than one set of eyes, you get a more accurate estimate,” he said.
    Page 2 of 2 - He also said the available programs allow layers of the project to be turned off or on to help keep the drawing clean.
    “It really keeps you organized and saves so much paper,” he said.
    Ashley Ferris is a junior and the student secretary in the office, and said she switched her major from accounting to construction management as a result of the position and inspiration provided by a service project for a church in Joplin.
    “It’s really great,” she said about the program’s dedication to technology, including its newest upgrade. “I’ve been to a couple conferences. The people in the industry actually look to us as the leaders in technology.”
    Prospective student Andrew Jones, a high school senior in Overland Park, had the chance to see the iPlan Table while touring campus.
    “I was deciding between the construction management programs at K-State and Pittsburg State,” he said, adding that he has made the decision to attend Pitt State.
    He said the technology was not the deciding factor for him, but that it will be beneficial.
    “It’s great that they have them, and I’m definitely looking forward to using them,” he said.
    Strenth said the experience of using the newest technology provides an opportunity for students to learn while in college and benefits beyond.
    “Right now, the students are just coming in on their own and figuring out how to use it,” he said. “It gives the students an advantage when they’re invited to work for companies.”

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