EL PASO — The civil engineering department at The University of Texas at El Paso recently received an award from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) for a collaborative project to design an energy efficient fire station that incorporates SMART design principles.
The project, titled “Multidisciplinary SMART Design of Fire Station 513,” was a collaboration between the City of El Paso and a UTEP civil engineering Senior Project class with support from UTEP’s Engineering in Practice Program.
Fire Station 513 was designed to be a 14,000-square-foot fire station with seven parking bays located at Gateway East and Revere in Central El Paso. The design incorporates City SMART Code regulations for sustainable development and will include works by local artists. It is expected to qualify for a Leadership in Engineering and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification. To obtain a LEED Certificate, the fire station must incorporate eco-friendly strategies related to energy efficiency, water conservation, and material resources.
The $7,500 NCEES award recognizes engineering programs that encourage collaboration between students and licensed professional engineers.
“The involvement of the Engineering and Planning Department from the City of El Paso and Engineering Consultants was key for obtaining this award,” said Ivonne Santiago, Ph.D., lecturer in the civil engineering department. “R. Alan Shubert, P.E., City Engineer, and Irene Ramírez, P.E., Assistant City Engineer, from the City of El Paso, and Mijares Mora Architects, who were awarded the final design of the fire station, have worked closely with our civil engineering department to provide us with real-life projects for students.”
Designing Fire Station 513 provided UTEP graduate and undergraduate civil engineering students the opportunity to learn a long-term career lesson: that engineering requires working as a team in a professional setting with the aim to design and build facilities that better serve the community. Students collaborated with UTEP faculty and licensed professional engineers to make the fire station a success.
“I was very proud that the students took over the challenge of this new approach to learning about professional practice with this multidisciplinary project,” Santiago said. “We definitely have raised the bar of our design courses by having a project that incorporates the five areas of civil engineering taught in our department, namely, structural, geotechnical, environmental, transportation, and construction management.”