UWP students explore options for small Prairie du Chien housing development

November 27, 2002
2002_11_27.jpg Mark Weiand of Freeport, Ill., Stacy Pike of Merrill and Jason Daye of Sheboygan

PLATTEVILLE-It may seem like a smaller scale project at first look, but for three University of Wisconsin-Platteville students, designing a housing development in Prairie du Chien presents numerous challenges and learning opportunities.

Students Mark Weiand of Freeport, Ill., Stacy Pike of Merrill and Jason Daye of Sheboygan, began working on the project at the beginning of the semester for Assistant Dean of the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science Lisa Riedle's senior design class.

"We're developing a subdivision layout in Prairie du Chien for a private landowner, Jim Smrcina of Potosi-Tennyson, who would like to develop as many lots as the city will allow on two acres of property," said Weiand, student project manager. With only a month left in the semester, the bulk of the project is complete.

"We started off the project by contacting the city to get all the codes and specifications for developing a subdivision within city limits," Pike said. "We also surveyed the area for topography and to match our road with the existing road."

At a midterm meeting, the students presented three lot layout options to their client. Smrcina narrowed the lot layout designs to two options, which the students have developed further.

"Working with the lot layouts our client has chosen, we've been designing a cul de sac, which is one of our client's main issues in regards to the property," Daye said. "The property is currently landlocked with no access."

"We've also been working on designs for the storm and sanitary sewers and the location of all the other utilities," Weiand said. "In addition, we're researching cost estimates and taking cross-sections of the lot to determine the amount of materials needed to make the road."

Although the project is smaller than the other senior design projects this semester, the students said they have encountered several challenges along the way. A 25-foot wide berm running along the back of the property gave students the opportunity to do some creative problem solving.

"The berm took up about one-fourth of one of our lots, which is quite a bit of land considering the lots are small to begin with," Pike said. "Moving the berm was not an option, so we resolved that the best solution would be to design a layout that increased that particular lot size and decreased the size of the other lots."

Working on a real-life project with no standards, regulation or variables given has also provided the students with a challenging learning opportunity.

"Starting from scratch and learning all the steps necessary to develop a small subdivision has been a challenge," Daye said. "There's more research to do in the beginning stages than anything else. Incorporating the client's needs into a design that will work has also been a challenge."

The project will conclude at the end of the semester with students presenting written and oral reports to their client. Each of the students agreed that the project was a beneficial learning experience.

"I think this project has been a real confidence booster," Pike said. "I now know that I can take on a project, starting out with very little information, develop a plan and present it to a client."

The three students anticipate graduating in December 2002. Weiand is majoring in civil engineering with an emphasis in transportation. He is a 1997 graduate of Dakota High School and the son of Linda Weiand of Dothan, Ala., and Roger Weiand of Savanna, Ill. After graduation, Weiand plans to pursue a career as a project manager in construction.

Pike is a 1998 graduate of Merrill Senior High School and the daughter of Cindy and Jerry Pike of Merrill. She is majoring in civil engineering with an emphasis in transportation and construction. After graduation, Pike plans to pursue a career as an engineering consultant or project manager. She is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Society of Women Engineers.

Daye is a 1997 graduate of North High School and the daughter of Gary and Jean Daye of Sheboygan. He is majoring in civil engineering with an emphasis in transportation. After graduation, Daye said he hopes to have a career with a successful company as an engineering consultant or project manager. He is a member of ASCE and the Institute of Transportation Engineers.


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