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PCI Foundation Accepts Two New Proposals

The PCI Foundation Trustees recently accepted two new proposals for PCI Education Programs. The University of Arizona and the University of Minneosta Duluth will join the the list of programs supported by the PCI Foundation at the beginning of 2018. 

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona program will be coordinated by Civil Engineering (CE) professor Dr. Robert D. Fleischman in conjunction with the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Design(CAPLA). The UA PCI Studio will create new precast concrete content, integrated within and across University of Arizona  Civil Engineering, Architecture and Architectrural Engineering degree programs. This content will appear as new learning modules, primarily for technical electives of the undergraduate upper division and graduate coursework, including for structural engineering and construction management focuses wishing the Civil Engineering, sustainable construction and architectural precast for Architecture and in cross-disciplinary fashion for the Architectural Engineering school.  The industry champion, Coreslab Structures (ARIZ) and faculty members and students from CEEM and CAPLA have worked together for nearly nine months to develop the details of the UA PCI Studio, perform pilot activities in Spring 2017 and write the proposal. 

New class content will include: 

  • a semester-long module on precast concrete focusing on the design of prestressed elements, 

  • two one—week models on the design on non-prestressed precast elements and sustainability aspects of precast concrete

  • a one-week module on the anatomy of a total precast building structure, focusing on gravity elements, and a one-week module on precast seismic systems.

  • A one-week module on the design and construction of precast concrete highway bridge girders

  • Construction courses will have three-one-week models added on precast construction elements, techniques & methods, production/erection drawings and scheduling and erection equipment, sequence and best practices.

  • Architectural course content will include one-week modules on architectural precast and sustainability, and the use of BIM for precast. 

New Laboratory Modules will include

  • Engineering Graphics Laboratory Module

  • Materials Laboratory Module

In addition to creating new content for existing classes, the new program will include 

  • A professional seminar series that will involve a variety of professionals associated with precast concrete construction

  • A field trip program that will involve precast plant tours, precast construction site visits

  • Precast product supplier office tours, 

  • Design consultant office visits for structural/architectural firms involved in precast. 

  • Student competitions such as the Concrete Canoe and and the PCI Big Beam Competition

  • Summer internships within the Precast Industry.

And finally, students taking on a capstone project will now be able to focus on precast concrete during their semester-long Capstone Design Project. 

Industry champion Dawn Rogers of Coreslab Structures (Ariz) will coordinate the industry involvement.  Other school personnel involved with the program   will include Dean Papajohh, Dr. Hongki Jo, Dr. Cac Dao, Ray Barnes, Michael Kottke, Katt Hobhani. Outside professionals who will be involved in the program include Ted Buell, of HDR and David Zaleski, of the Pima County DOT. 

University of Minnesota Duluth

For the University of Minnesota Duluth, the focus will be on resilient precast. Ben Dymond of the Department of Engineering will coordinate the program in conjunction with Department of Civil Engineering, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and the Master of Business Administration program. John Saccoman of Molin Concrete Products will be the industry champion for the program. This multidisciplinary educational program aims to combine the traditional approach to concrete engineering education with cutting-edge knowledge related to sustainability and business management. Traditionally, engineers learn the basics of concrete design, while possibly discussing precast concrete, but they fail to investigate why to chose precast concrete or how does sustainable precast concrete fit into an organizational dynamic. This program will address those questions and others while challenging students to push the envelope of sustainability in precast concrete. 

The program will include new content in four courses taken during a students junior and senior years. Once a student completes the courses they will have a special pull out on their transcript noting the special interest of the student in resiliency and precast concrete design. All students in the department will now be exposed to some precast concrete curriculum. Courses that will include precast curriculum will include: 


Current course, focuses on cast in place and ACI 318 and it will not add 50% precast content. The course is currently an elective but will become a required course and there will be about 20-25 students per class. 

  • Molin will supply a full size precast panel with various connections for permanent installation in the teaching lab as a demonstration tool

  • Will include a precast plant tour and jobsite tour

  • Students will learn differences between cast in place and precast

  • Students will learn how to erect precast

  • Will shift in-class parking garage project from cast in place to precast


Current course is structural elements using ACI code, bridges and buildings and will now include new course material using the PCI Design Handbook and other PCI reference materials while student take on a semester-long design project. This class will also incorporate plant tour and job site visit focused on prestressed concrete. Additionally it will 

  • include new course material using PCI Design Handbook and PCI reference materials

  • introduce students to Concise Beam design software (used by Molin)

  • Class will compete in annual Big Beam Contest

  • Winning class teams (2) will go on compete in the contest and work with Molin (or other precaster) to fabricate their design

BUS 2400

This two-credit course will be taught by MBA faculty and will incorporate sales, marketing, project management and general management content provided by Molin, which will have senior management share their knowledge and experience with students. Students will gain insights into managing a precast business. 

CE 4255 Capstone Project. 

Finally, an engineering capstone course will be the first course taught by the University on resiliency. Typically a senior design student takes information learned along the way in other courses and brings it all together for one project. This unique curriculum will be co-taught by Alison Hoxie, a mechanical engineering specializing in thermal efficiency and sustainability. Students will work with a professor or business mentor on their project which may involve research and analysis of resiliency in precast concrete. 

Students who successfully complete all 4 courses will receive a UMD Certificate and line on their transcript denoting completion of the Precast Engineering Program

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