On Wednesday, we were given the opportunity to tour the amphitheater construction site and meet with engineer Mr. Michael Douglas from Haven Construction. We each wrote a reflection on the interesting information we learned below. We hope you enjoy this update to NDA’s newest outdoor addition!
Melina: I feel super lucky to have been able to tour the construction site! Not only is it extremely cool to be able to see things up close and hear the behind-the-scenes details, I am also very appreciative that administration and the team behind this project are so willing to share the progress with us. We were accompanied by Mr. Flanagan, the Facilities Director, and Mrs. Bianchi, the Science Department Chair. Mr. Flanagan explained to us how his major role in the project is to be essentially the intermediary between the school and the construction company. This was super intriguing because I had honestly never considered the logistics of the project. We then met with Mr. Douglas, who shared with us his love for engineering as a career because it is so multi-faceted. He explained that he has enjoyed being able to work in many different environments, with his most recent transition being into construction, of course. He showed us blueprint designs of the land’s layout, including a layout of before the project and a layout of what they are aiming for after to look like. These designs were really cool to see, because they have everything on them, including the drains and pipes underground. One observation I made was how meticulous the designs were, which made me realize how difficult it must be to be an engineer or an architect. I think the most fascinating thing Mr. Douglas explained to us is how the entire project is compliant with the American Disabilities Act, which means that there are certain dimensions that must be adhered to in terms of things like the size and depth of the amphitheater. He also explained how the slope of the ground must be kept in mind in regard to the drains and as the project progresses, it is important to keep this in mind. Again, super detailed! Mr. Douglas remarked how the project had a lot to do with geometry, explaining that the things we learn in school are really applicable to the world. He also stated that engineering engages a lot of problem solving, which I think goes to show that engineering is probably only right for certain types of people. Overall, I found the tour really captivating, especially since I walk by the site multiple times a day but don’t really think about the details of the execution. Knowing all the work that is going into the project certainly makes me have a deeper appreciation for everyone involved. I feel very lucky to be able to witness a piece of NDA history being made right before my eyes, and right in time for my senior year!
Clare: Melina could not have captured the amazement of seeing everything up close better. For years I dreamt of becoming an engineer, and having the opportunity to ask one questions- in person- was wonderful. Mrs. Bianchi and Mr. Flanagan escorted a select handful of NDA students out to the grounds where plans are being put into action. Mr. Douglas, the engineer on site, attended Carson University and was able to share some valuable information with us all. He said “engineering is just solving problems” and when he discussed how he reacts to set backs in big plans like the one outside NDA, he told us the whole purpose of engineering is to solve the problems that arise. He laughed when asking us what fun it would be if everything went according to plan all the time. I was also fascinated by his explanation of how the small-sloped ramp around the area will be ADA approved, meaning handicap accessible. I was impressed that this was such a big part of the project and excited to hear how much both NDA and the workers on the site cared about making sure this amphitheater was available to everyone. I am so very grateful to have had the opportunity to hear him speak so highly and passionately about his profession, as well as hear his inside scoop into the world of civil engineering. When he realized the interest so many of us have in STEM fields he was quick to mention that when he attended school there was a female-to-male ratio in his class of around 2:7. He encouraged us to pursue these fields because they do need us, and was eager to see more women in the engineering world. I don’t really know what I expected when we walked out the front doors of NDA in white and yellow hardhats and neon vests (besides the fact that we were clearly making a fashion statement). However, I can tell you know that it was so much more than I could have hoped for. I am patiently waiting until we can check back in with Mr. Douglas on the status of our future spot on the lawn. I for one await the days of lounging on the seats that will wind around the amphitheater and enjoying time with my friends out in the warm weather.