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Bridge builders to return to ASU

ALBANY — One of the most unique competitions involving area high school and middle school students will return to the campus of Albany State University on Feb. 25.

ASU will host the annual Southwest Georgia Model Bridge-building Competition beginning at 9 a.m. on Feb. 25 in the university’s HPER Gymnasium. The event is conducted each year in celebration of National Engineers Week.

The event is sponsored by the Georgia Space Grant Consortium, an organization created and wholly funded by NASA, to increase the participation of high school students in science and engineering careers. The consortium also seeks to increase the number of university students in aerospace research, which helps NASA’s future work force development project.

The model bridge-building competition provides an opportunity for students in Southwest Georgia to solve realistic engineering problems by designing and building structurally efficient balsa wood bridges according to stated specifications. The efficiency of each bridge is measured by the ratio of the breaking load to the weight of the bridge. A panel of judges from industry and research organizations will test the bridges and declare the winners.

The competition is open to all high and middle school students in Southwest Georgia. Schools may enter as many teams as they like.

Because 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the competition, an “open” category has been added to the existing high and middle school categories to encourage interested individuals to build a model bridge with minimum restrictions on the design specifications.

The competition will accept entries for each team that completes a registration form and pays a $15 registration fee through Feb. 8.

The top three teams in each category are awarded commemorative prizes. A plaque is awarded for the best overall performance in each category.

All participants (students and teachers) receive free T-shirts.