August 27, 2004

3,000-pound sculpture is new teaching tool

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A ceremony to dedicate a 3,000-pound sculpture designed as a teaching tool will take place at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31, in the lower courtyard of Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Engineering Buildings.

Built and donated by Steward Steel, a Sikeston, Mo., company, the 8-foot-tall sculpture demonstrates eight different ways of steel framing and their corresponding connections.

Shing-Chung "Max" Yen, director of SIUC's Materials Technology Center, said the black behemoth will serve as a gigantic visual aid.

"Normally, if we want our students to understand steel structure, we have to go to other locations, such as bridges," he said.

"With this, we can just go out to the courtyard."

SIUC has had a longstanding relationship with Steward Steel, which makes doors and frames, collector bars and custom-built steel structures. Two years ago, the company offered to fabricate the sculpture for SIUC using plans developed and provided by the American Institute of Steel Construction through its university outreach program, Yen said.

Shaping cooperative ventures is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

More than 127 colleges and universities, including Purdue University, Washington University and the University of Missouri, have such sculptures. The Materials Technology Center along with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the College of Engineering and the University are co-sponsoring the dedication ceremony.