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Students Shine During West Virginia DOT Bridge Design and Build Contest

CHARLESTON, WV — Students in West Virginia middle and high schools recently competed in the 2023 West Virginia Bridge Design and Build Contest. The event, sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) for over 20 years, was hosted at WVU Institute of Technology Campus in Beckley. There were 149 teams, an individual or team of two students, from schools all over the state that submitted designs.

The competition focuses on engineering, using real world design principles in the software with which students design their bridges. Garrett Ferguson, a senior at Frankfort High School in Mineral County, took home first place in the High School Division of the Software Competition.

“After checking in, we went up into the computer lab and did the software part of the contest,” Ferguson said. “They gave us two different scenarios, and we had to design a bridge that passed all the qualifications. On the software, it has a truck run across the bridge and if the truck makes it across it passes. ... We did that for two different scenarios — one was an arch bridge and one was a bridge with a pier.”

The award winners from the competition include:

Software Competition
High School Division
  • First place: Garrett Ferguson, Team: 7Salamanders from Frankfort High School, Mineral County
  • Second place: Sophie Carpenter and Nadia Madenspacher, Team: Get Over It from Musselman High School, Berkeley County
  • Third place: Madelyn Cole and Parker Shrewsbury, Team : Anakin, I have the high ground from Pikeview High School, Mercer County
Middle School Division
  • First place: Kaleb Byrge and Thomas Sides, Team: Heatedscorpions from Park Middle School, Raleigh County
  • Second place: Emma Vincent, Team: The DangerousDoggies from Eastern Greenbrier Middle School, Greenbrier County
  • Third place: Ellie Burns, Team: Lunacat from Eastern Greenbrier Middle School, Greenbrier County
Balsa Wood Competition
High School Division
  • First place: Johnathon Meadows, Team: Productive panthers from Pikeview High School, Mercer County
  • Second place: Nathaniel Vincent, Team: Potato Games from Greenbrier East High School, Greenbrier COunty
  • Third place: Alex Gilchrist and Janie Gilchrist, Team: Cheeseburger from Morgantown High School, Monongalia County
Middle School Division
  • First place: Emma Vincent, Team: TheDangerousDoggies from Eastern Greenbrier Middle School, Greenbrier County
  • Second place: Elizabeth Erwin and Colston Mendez, Team: SuperiorPotatoFarmerz from Teays Valley Christian School, Putnam County
  • Third place: Andrew Simon, Team: BBB (Bridge Building on a Budget) from Park Middle School, Raleigh County
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