Students design Boilermaker baseball complex

Author: Joseph Fowler
Civil engineering students in CE498—Senior Design had a curve ball thrown at them this spring when they were challenged to design a new Purdue baseball complex. We caught up with one of the 14 design teams, Atlas Consultants, as they presented their final design. In keeping with the sports theme, the team dubbed themselves “The Fantastic Four.”

How did engineering and baseball mix?

Patrick Jaschek: We like engineering and we like baseball, so when we put the two together, good things happened.

Was it fun designing a baseball complex? What were the particular challenges?

Jess Pounds: It was fun, for the most part. One of the main challenges was designing such a complex building with so many rooms and levels in such a short time period. The project taught me how to work well with a team to get such a large project done. It also taught me how much paper work can go into a project like this.

Nam Nguyen: The challenge was that I did not know baseball at all. I am from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The project helped me understand the sport better. Learning how to work in a team was also a challenge. 

What makes your team’s design unique?

Jess Pounds: I think the most unique part of it is the family-friendly hill we put outside of right field. It’s a place where families can sit, kids can run around, and people can barbecue.

What were your individual responsibilities?

Nguyen: I focused on structural engineering.

Jaschek: I did the foundations, drainage stuff, and site considerations. 

Pounds: I did a lot of the architectural design.

Rachel Lockhart: I focused on environmental and construction management.

Do you play baseball?

Jaschek: I did in high school. I was an outfielder.

Pounds: When I was little. I still like to play on the weekends.

Do you have a favorite ballpark?

Rachel Lockhart: Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. It really has the “classic” baseball character that our group was striving for in this project. The nice view of the Gateway Arch isn’t a bad touch either.

Will you ever be able to go to a baseball game again without thinking about the design of the ballpark?

Pounds: I don’t think so. I already look closer at the ballparks I see on TV to see the details, how they are designed, and what is unique about them.

If you could design something else for Purdue, what would it be?

Nguyen: A civil engineering building.

Pounds: I’d love to work on more sports buildings.

Who would you name the complex after?

Jaschek: We’d name it the Vince Drnevich Stadium. (Drnevich, professor of civil engineering, was the faculty advisor for the project.)

Pounds: He was a great professor. He really taught us a lot.