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Lafayette engineering students will present their final recommendations on the future of the Borough of Alpha’s aging John Dolak Memorial Pool 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at the Alpha Municipal Building, 1001 East Boulevard. The public is invited to attend.

The 15 senior civil engineering majors, grouped in teams of five students each, have developed proposals for the pool as a senior design project led by Roger Ruggles, associate professor and head of civil and environmental engineering, and Arthur Kney, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.

“It’s the capstone design project for their major,” says Ruggles. “It’s intended to integrate multiple sub-areas of civil engineering into one project. This particular one does that by incorporating water resources, environmental, construction, and probably structural engineering. It’s also beneficial in the sense that it’s a real project, which makes the students much more excited about it. They’re dealing first-hand with the people affected by it, which gives them a greater feeling of ownership of the problem.”

Crystalann Harbold of York, Pa., who will work for the York engineering firm Johnson, Mirmiran and Thompson after graduating this May, says she has appreciated the opportunity to work on behalf of a client in need of the students’ expertise. “Also, we’re a pretty small group of students, and after four years of taking classes together, we really enjoy working with each other,” she adds.

Built in 1979, the pool cannot be sold because of the stipulations of a $300,000 state grant that partially funded its construction. A flood plain and wetland areas limit the property’s use. Although the option to reopen the pool has not been ruled out, borough officials believe it probably would be too expensive to continue operating it.

Students have conducted an analysis of the site’s hydrological makeup and other characteristics, assessed the recreation needs of the borough through surveying residents, and determined the potential uses of the property.

Last year’s senior design class presented the Forks Township Board of Supervisors with proposals for a new municipal building, which included a study of potential environmental and traffic impacts. “The town is constructing a building that very much resembles one of the structures recommended to them by the students, so I’d say they responded pretty well (to the presentations),” notes Ruggles.

Categorized in: Academic News