Students design recreational park water wheel

March 30, 2015
Group shot
Brodhead project

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — A group of University of Wisconsin-Platteville students are working with the community of Brodhead, Wis., to design a 16- to 20-foot-tall undershot water wheel that will be used to generate lighting along the Mill Race section of the Sugar River leading to the proposed covered bridge of Putnam Park. The water wheel will be a component of Brodhead’s Pearl Island Recreational Corridor project, designed to attract tourists to the area and beautify the park areas surrounding a three-mile stretch of the river. The six students, all mechanical engineering majors who will graduate in May, are working under the guidance of Dr. Prathivadi Ravikumar who teaches the senior design project course for mechanical engineering.

Michael Bump, from Marshfield, Wis., is working alongside fellow students Eric Simon, from Green Bay, Wis.; Eric Schomisch, from Neenah, Wis.; Matt Groshek from Custer, Wis.; Caleb Johnson from Marinette, Wis.; and Joe McIlree from Saukville, Wis.

“We are getting experience in how to run a real world project before we actually enter the real world,” said Bump. “UW-Platteville offers many hands-on opportunities, and through this project, we were able to apply material that we have learned through four years of education.”

“The students’ work has been exemplary,” said Dr. Richard Benesh Jr., Pearl Island Recreational Corridor Team administrator. “They are very conscientious, ask the right questions and are well-organized and thorough. We have students from Brodhead who attend UW-Platteville, so it is a neighborly connection.”

Bump and his classmates began their work at the beginning of the semester by selecting Brodhead as their community and the Pearl Island Recreational Corridor as their project. 

“We chose our project because we all love the outdoors and are from rural areas,” said Bump. “We thought we would be able to best show our knowledge through this project.”

The group has already undergone research and analysis for their project by working with the Brodhead community to learn what they want for the project as well as how the water of the river flows so that it can turn the wheel most effectively. Their next step is to meet with the mayor and city officials of Brodhead so that they can decide on a material with which to build the water wheel and what would look best in the Pearl Island Recreational Park.

This is the third senior design team to do work with the Pearl Island Recreational Park. Previous UW-Platteville teams designed a covered bridge as well as a series of piers on the river.

“Each of the UW-Platteville teams we have worked with were fun to be involved with,” said Benesh. “They are nice, fun people who are very enthusiastic, an important quality.”

The student team was able to collaborate with other departments on campus, including civil engineering to help with the analysis of the water flow and the art department to help with drawing the concept design of the water wheel.

“One thing that is very important with these projects is that we are not only sustaining the environment, we are strengthening it,” said Benesh. “We do no damage, because once the environment is gone, it’s very difficult to get back.”
 

Written By: Angela O’Brien, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, 608-342-1194, obrienan@uwplatt.edu

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