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UALR students bring home win from Dallas

Ryan Burton of Jacksonville joined five other University of Arkansas at Little Rock students who took home a first-place win following the 2014 Associated Schools of Construction and TEXO International Student Competition, held recently.

The winning team, led by Faculty Coach Larry Blackmon, represented the UALR Department of Construction Management and Civil and Construction Engineering.

The division consisted of eight teams competing from schools from across a four-state region.

The competition involved a 16-hour estimating and bidding portion, with competitors confined to a room with no outside contact, followed by travel to the competition for presentation to the judges.

Burton, now in his third year of competition overall and his second as a member of the heavy civil team, said one of the challenges is having such a short time to analyze a complex project and determining the best way to get a good price.

“Then, you have to come up with a presentation that defends your price,” he said.

“You go into it knowing that you haven’t gotten all the details on the problem that the sponsor knows are there, but you have to tell them why your price makes the best sense.”

Student competitors do not discover the winner until the school’s name is announced at the awards banquet.

“When the presenters announced third and second place winners, I had butterflies in my stomach,” Burton said. “When they announced UALR for first, I was just ecstatic. I was pumped. It felt really awesome to have done all of that work and have it validated.”

The students’ construction challenge was provided and judged by personnel from Austin Bridge & Road Construction Co. The assignment focused on a two and half mile stretch along I-30.

The project’s goal upon completion was an interstate overpass in both directions. The scope involved demolishing the existing bridge and building two new bridges without interrupting traffic flow on I-30.

The problem also only allowed 60 days of closure for the highway, which made the schedule critical.

The team’s bid for the project was $31.5 million, and the duration of the project was 504 working days. The actual bid for the project that Austin Bridge & Road submitted was $33 million.

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