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Engineering students design bridge for Fort de la Presentation

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 1:45 PM EDT
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OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - Clarkson University students are bridging the gap not only between college and community, but also between a historic site and scenic island.

The Fort de la Presentation Association needs a bridge. Engineering students need some real world experience.

“That was really good with this project, really taking everything we learned throughout our undergrad and piecing it all together into one final project was pretty nice,” said Tyler MacNeil, Clarkson University senior.

One student team came up with a steel bridge design. The other, a timber bridge. Either one could bridge the gap between fort property and a small, but special island.

“Which has the most beautiful views of the St. Lawrence, but you can’t get to it,” said Barbara O’Keefe, Fort de la Presentation Association president.

It was different from typical class assignments. You find out the maps aren’t always right. At first, at school, they designed the bridge to span 22-feet.

“Get to the site, look at it, and you come to find out that it needs to span 40 feet,” said MacNeil.

For most students, it was also the first time working with real live clients. They noticed something right away about fort association members.

“They’re very enthusiastic and they’re very dedicated. … Very passionate. Oh, yeah. They’re very passionate. Yup,” said Claire Zwack and Tyler Troch-Stirpe, Clarkson seniors.

Funds will still have to be raised to build the bridge. But, it’s something the fort association is pretty good at.

There are so many projects planned here that it’s hard to keep track of them all. And so many already getting done.

A $1.3 million state grant is paying for this flood mitigation work. Half a million dollars was raised to build its interpretive trail.

A bridge? That could come in at under $100,000.

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