Construction Program’s future home already teaching lessons

Of all the construction projects in the Grand Junction area slated for the coming months,

Charlie Gains is most excited about the project that will be his future home.

Gains is the only full-time construction-management professor at Mesa State College.

Construction management is a new program this year, and Gains said the college is showing its commitment to making the program successful with its recent purchase and remodel of the old Leitner-Poma facility.

His students have taken a special interest in the project to remodel the facility and have used their construction-management know-how to give input on what they’d like to see at the facility. They also are organizing fundraisers to help cover the cost of remodeling.

“I’ve been really lucky to experience the industry side and education side of construction management,” Gains said. “Nowhere that I have visited have I ever seen a program like this.”

Gains said the students are doing surveying at the site thanks to a donated survey grid. By the time the remodel is done in the fall, students will have the space to erect full-scale, steel models of projects, research prototype equipment and explore sustainable building practices such as permeable pavement materials made from recycled materials.

The remodeling project is managed by Katy Schreiner, who is one of Gains’ students and also works for her father’s construction company, which is remodeling the facility.

“It’s like a hands-on learning tool,” Schreiner said.

The project is one of several construction projects that should provide a boon to Grand Junction’s economy, Gains said.

Mesa State has 19 projects lined up that will provide more than $100 million in work, Gains said, and he had heard the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Grand Junction Regional Airport are interested in expanding, along with various retail stores looking to relocate to the area.

“Those projects will give a huge boost,” Gains said. “I hope they will insulate Grand Junction from this recession.”

The construction-management program was added to take advantage of the new construction in the area, Gains said.

Schreiner said she switched to construction management when she was 19 credits away
from a creative and technical writing degree from another school.

“I realized when it came to finding a job, there wasn’t going to be a lot out there,” Schreiner said.


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