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PCI Precast Design Studios

Teaching future engineers and architects about designing with Precast Concrete is a unique program funded by PCI Foundation.

Gate Precast is affiliated with two PCI foundation sponsored Design Studios:

UNCC in Charlotte, NC has a dual architecture and engineering studio and UNF in Jacksonville, FL, has an engineering studio that was created by UNF professor Adel El-Safty working with Gate Precast.  Precast/prestressed concrete is introduced to students giving them the opportunity to interact with experts in the precast concrete industry. Gate Precast participates in lecture series and conducts "hands-on" production exercises at its manufacturing facilities.

University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL

UNF Engineering Team Takes 1st Place in Regional Big Beam Contest; 4th Place in National

August 2012
The UNF Civil Engineering Team was selected the regional winner of the 2012 Engineering Student Design Award also known as The Big Beam Contest. The team placed fourth for the first time in the national competition winning a total of $1,250 in award monies provided by the Big Beam sponsors.

Gate Precast in Jacksonville, FL sponsored the University of North Florida team in the 2012 Big Beam Competition, a national student engineering competition co-sponsored by (PCI) Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute and SIKA Corporation. The Florida Prestressed Concrete Association is the state sponsor.

Tom Newton, VP, Operations for Gate Precast served as the team's PCI producer.

READ More:

2011 Big Beam Contest - UNF Engineering Team
Wins 2nd Place in Florida

Gate Precast in Jacksonville, FL, fabricated the UNF team's 4,000-pound beam and shipped it to UNF's concrete testing lab in the Science and Engineering building. The precast concrete beam was examined and subjected to a series of stress tests to determine a winner. The UNF team's beam came in second place in Florida in 2011.

“Gate Precast has been a wonderful partner for UNF not only in the big beam competition but especially in their role in the Prestressed/Precast Concrete Institute (PCI),” said Dr. Adel El-Safty, a professor in the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction and the faculty adviser for the Big Beam Competition.

A national grant from the PCI Foundation of $125,000 over five years to establish a concrete design studio at UNF is another indication of how a public-private partnership can benefit students, he explained. “The studio gives our students hands-on experience that would not be realized without the support of sponsors.”

But El-Safty said one of the biggest benefits for students in these competitions is the incentive they provide. “Our students put a great deal of effort in studying and working in the lab preparing for the competition. They are in the lab every night for three or four months. We have never achieved that kind of commitment through teaching alone. We are thankful for these types of partnerships to motivate our students.”

2011 Big Beam Contest Story:

Watch the video:

University of North Carolina, Charlotte, NC

The PCI Foundation, Georgia/Carolinas PCI co-sponsors a unique integrated Architectural / Engineering Design Studio each Fall semester at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. For three years, Gate Precast Company in Oxford, NC has conducted interactive precast concrete production exercises with UNCC School of Architecture and Civil & Environmental Engineering Departments. The students review contract drawings through the production ticket phase. After a tour of the plant, the students worked in two groups, setting up and pouring their own precast concrete panels.The following day, the "hands-on" production experience continues as their precast concrete panels are moved to the finishing yard.