FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Students in Fairmont State University’s Department of Engineering Technology have collaborated with the American Society of Civil Engineers West Virginia Section to draft the first-ever Infrastructure Report Card for the state.
These reports are done in every state across the country, about every four years. The purpose is to conduct the research necessary to rate West Virginia’s infrastructure, and they do so across five categories. Those categories are roads, bridges, dams, drinking water, and wastewater.
The inaugural report was part of a special topics course taught this past spring at Fairmont State, so students could grasp firsthand knowledge on how to complete these reports properly.
“They learned the research, they got to meet with government agencies,” said Tabitha Lafferre, an Engineering Technology professor at Fairmont State. “Prior to COVID-19, we took field trips to the DEP, and they got to meet the commissioner of the division of highways. They actually got to meet with them, and then they got to work with professional engineers in each category. Networking is a huge aspect of engineering. In general, this helps produce better engineers for the state of West Virginia.”
Lafferre is also a co-chair of the ASCE WV Report Card Committee. She said these categories were evaluated based on eight criteria. Those being capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation.
Lafferre said being able to experience what to do, evaluate, and be aside real professionals will benefit students long term if this is a career they choose to follow.
The infrastructure report was published last Wednesday, December 2. West Virginia’s overall grade was a “D.” The report can be viewed here, and to learn more information you can also visit the ASCE Report Card’s Facebook page.