Siloam Springs, Ark (November 19, 1997) - With the help of cutting-edge surveying equipment provided by Topcon America, John Brown University construction management students began construction on a house in Quail Run subdivision in Siloam Springs, Ark., on Oct. 1.

Simmons Foods, Inc. of Siloam Springs is helping to provide funding for the project. The framing, concrete foundation and painting will be completed by students fulfilling requirements for several different construction management (CM) classes. Senior CM students will coordinate all aspects of the project while freshman students are furnishing much of the labor. Students enrolled in the surveying course assisted in the project by locating the structure on the lot.

"A total education involves more than classroom knowledge; it also entails hands-on experience," said Mark Simmons, chairman of the board of Simmons Foods, Inc. "The students involved with this building project are putting classroom theory into action." The 1,144 square-feet house at 1006 Arrow Wood Road will have three bedrooms, two baths and a two-car garage.

The senior management students feel the pressure of performance in a way that's very difficult to simulate in a regular class setting, and give this experience very high ratings in the course evaluation," said Dr. Kent Davis, professor of construction management. "The underclassmen receive experience that helps illustrate and illuminate the other freshman level construction courses they take, and gain a taste of the challenges of construction once they graduate."

The $7,500 electronic Total station instrument that was used by the surveyors was furnished by Topcon America. Topcon assists universities by loaning new equipment to schools each year in order for them to keep up-to-date technology in the hands of future graduates.

"Combining a real construction layout problem with access to new equipment has been a boost to our program," said Jim Caldwell, associate professor of construction management at JBU. "Topcon's support is a good example of how equipment manufactures can play an active role in higher education."

A-1 Plumbing of Gentry, Ark. was sub-contracted by Eagle Construction company to do the plumbing work, and Seitz Electric, in Bentonville, is the electrical sub-contractor.

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