College Hosts Truss Building Contest for HS Students

Originally published by: SooToday.comFebruary 18, 2021

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High school students interested in a career in the engineering and construction fields are invited to register and participate in the Sault College 2021 Truss Building Contest.

Sault college building

Sault College. File photo, Darren Taylor/SooToday

The event, intended to give students in Grades 9 to 12 a chance to get away from their computers and engage in hands-on learning, problem solving and design, is similar to the annual bridge building competition held at Sault College’s gymnasium every spring.

Each participating student will design, create and submit a balsa wood truss and compete against their classmates for prizes and bragging rights. Student trusses will be loaded and tested to determine the winner in a virtual live streamed event, to be held Friday, March 19.

A link will be provided to students upon registration.

Any students wishing to register can email their name, school, and grade to Marc Pilon, Sault College Civil Engineering Program professor by email or call (705) 971-1895.

Once registered, each student will be given a time to pick up truss building material (at a contactless pickup via drop box) at the Sault Ste. Marie Construction Association at 117 White Oak Dr. E., during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday).

Deadline to submit completed trusses (at the Construction Association building) is Wednesday, March 17 prior to 4:30 p.m.

“Typically we hold our annual Bridge Building Competition in the spring of each year; however, due to the situation regarding COVID-19 we have been unable to run the competition,” Pilon wrote in a release.

There is no cost to register for the competition and the wood kits will be provided at no cost to the students. 

“Given that the annual Bridge Building competition is an important recruitment activity for the Civil Engineering/Construction programs, we want to continue to provide an opportunity for hands-on learning for high school students while building awareness for a potential career path in engineering/construction,” Pilon stated.

“Northern Ontario is experiencing a very high demand for Civil Engineering Technicians/Technologists, as well as careers in the construction industry. This is exciting news for students enrolled in these programs.”

Teachers wishing to include this activity into their curriculum can email and request a virtual class presentation on truss building.

Contestants will be placed in two categories (Grades 9 and 10 and Grades 11 and 12).

Cash prizes of $200, $100 and $50 will be awarded to first, second and third place winners in each category.

Contest rules are as follows:

  • Trusses must only be constructed with the wood provided in the kit.
  • Only glue is allowed to construct your truss. Choice of glue is up to the student, however standard carpenters glue is recommended. Excess glue must be sanded/removed.
  • Trusses must be exactly 400mm long. Trusses too short or too long will not be tested.
  • Truss height and width is up to the student.
  • Trusses will be loaded via a point load (concentrated load) located at the mid span of the supports.

“The intent of this activity is to provide some content this year without bridge building given COVID-19 restrictions. I hope to return to the Bridge Building Contest next year,” Pilon wrote.