Saturday, February 4, 2023

Concrete and construction management building open to public


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Story by Contributing Writer Brian Branch and Contributing Writer Corey Nave

Second-floor balcony. Deck is covered in a low maintenance plant called sedum. (Photo by Brian Branch)

Along the eastern wall of the yard is an etched construction site relief created by Gate Bluegrass Precast in Ashland, Tennessee. (Photo by Brian Branch)

Middle Tennessee State University opened its new concrete and construction management building to the public with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday.

The structure, a “celebration of concrete” according to Director of the School of Concrete and Construction Management Kelly Strong, cost $40.1 million to build and stretches to 54,000 square feet.

The building, which contains a state-of-the-art virtual design and construction computer lab, will allow students to generate advanced building models and then toward their designs in virtual reality, giving them the ability to walk through their building before it is built as they design it.

A large portion of the building houses labs ranging from soil testing to concrete mixing.

“The construction of the building was not environmentally friendly,” Strong said. “But this is offset in a few ways.”

The first way is the green roof on the second-floor balcony. The deck is covered in a low-maintenance plant called sedum, which reduces the building’s temperature. The second way is the climate control system that regulates the building in an energy-efficient way.

Cellular service in the mainly concrete structure appeared unreliable, but the building’s design team anticipated this issue. The construction team installed a network of Wi-Fi signal repeaters throughout the building that provide a clear signal in every room.

After class, students can unwind in what Strong called “the backyard.” The area includes a ping pong table, picnic tables and a cornhole board, all made of concrete.

To contact News Editor Matthew Giffin and Assistant News Editor Kailee Shores, email

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