Surveying the field

Posted on Nov 19, 2014


Placing the basesOn one of the last warm days of the fall, a group of students from Rockford East High School’s EMITT (Engineering, Manufacturing, Industrial Technology and Trades) Academy visited Rock Valley College to get a look at a unique construction project, and to get a little hand’s on experience.

RVC is in the midst of renovations to one of its original classroom buildings (CL-I), and the college’s Assistant Professor of Building Construction Technology Dan Bawinkel gave them a behind the scenes tour.

“The tour of that building was a pretty rare opportunity to see something built as uniquely as that classroom building.  It was built in the 1960s and it’s a cast-in place building,” Bawinkel said.

CL-I is undergoing a complete restoration and reinvention, and the students got an up close look at it.

Then, it was off to the RVC baseball field, where Bawinkel put them to work.

The infield had just been redone and though home plate remained, the bases needed to be placed.  With the use of survey equipment the students were able to calculate the exact spots to put first, second and third.

“It was great to have a practical application, that was different than just laying out four corners of a building,” Bawinkel said.

Calculating the distance from home to second presented a challenge, because there was a little thing in the way.  The pitcher’s mound.

“We had to elevate the survey tape to account for the mound, and the distance from home to second is longer than our tape, so both of those things gave the students interesting problems to solve.”

At the end of the exercise, the college had perfectly placed bases on its brand new infield, a group of Rockford Public School students had practical experience and a look at how survey equipment is used in ways that you might not think of.

And, their work isn’t done.  Just next door, the home field of RVC’s 2014 national championship softball team has also been resurfaced, and the EMITT students will be back to put in some more work.


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