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April 25, 2013

ULM Construction Management students place 2nd in Disaster Shelter Competition

Students from the University of Louisiana at Monroe's School of Construction Management won second place in the second annual World Vision Disaster Shelter Design Competition on the campus of John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark.

The ULM team was coached by Dr. Hollis Bray, professor in the ULM School of Construction Management.

ULM's student team includes Cameron Wilson of Elmer, Katelyn Hogan of Monroe, James Waldron of Freeport, Fla., and Shane Young of West Monroe.

"I am very pleased that our students have done so well competing with architecture, engineering and other construction students," said Bray.

"This team immersed themselves in the project. I did very little except provide logistic support. As an educator, it is always exciting to see students take over responsibility for learning. I am also very grateful for the assistance of Mr. Al Gonzales, owner of Eason Portable Buildings, who coached the team and provided materials and business expertise for the project."

Five universities competed, with Calvin University, ULM, and John Brown University rounding out the top three.

"I had a blast," said Wilson.

"It was a fun experience. Our shelter withstood the 90 mph winds and blew over at 130 mph, which really made me proud of our building skills. We also finished the timed setup faster than anyone else, and I believe that had a lot to do with teamwork and good communication between us."

Student teams were asked to design and construct a rapidly deployable emergency shelter for use by aid organizations in response to natural disasters.

This was a competition for designing and demonstrating portable shelters that can be sent anywhere in the world and rapidly assembled for victims of disasters such as tsunamis, earthquake, hurricanes, etc.

The competition included a written paper, the design, construction and testing of a prototype portable shelter that can be quickly shipped to disaster sites around the world and is rapidly assembled to provide safe, temporary shelter for up to four people.

The design requirements included 3.5 square meters of space per person, resistance to wind, snow, and earthquake loads, and a weight limit of 300 pounds.

Students were also asked to demonstrate that the shelter would provide individual privacy and could be livable for up to one year.

A judge rated the livability of the design after spending a night in the shelter.

The earthquake load was simulated by shaking the shelter atop a 16 foot by 20 foot wooden platform on wheels.

ULM students designed a hexagonal shelter approximately 12 feet wide, composed of light gauge metal framing and coroplast (signboard).

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization that serves close to 100 million people in nearly 100 countries, including earthquake and hurricane survivors, abandoned and exploited children, survivors of famine and civil war, refugees, and children and families in communities devastated by AIDS in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The staff of more than 40,000 includes experts in a broad range of technical specialties, ranging from hydrology to microenterprise development to public health.

To view shelter submissions, photos and videos, visit

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