Category: Education

Having the tools necessary for completing daily academic tasks are essential for a successful school year.

Back to School: Tips for Aspiring A/E/C Professionals

It’s that time of year where the leaves are falling, college campuses are buzzing (mostly online), and students are preparing for their first exams of the year. Whether you’re in the classroom, learning virtually, or a recent graduate preparing for a designation exam, it is imperative to establish habits  that allow for success at all stages of the education experience and ultimately a career in the A/E/C industry.

Heading Back to Class – What Now?

As most college campuses shift to online learning in the wake of the global pandemic, many students who are used to being in the classroom are now facing a learning curve with virtual learning. Having the tools necessary for completing daily academic tasks are essential for a successful school year. Tools in your academic arsenal should include:

Having the tools necessary for completing daily academic tasks are essential for a successful school year.
Having the tools necessary for completing daily academic tasks are essential for a successful school year and studying for exams.
  • Comfortable workspace
  • Calculator
  • Highlighters and pens
  • Reliable computer and internet connection
  • Day planner or calendar
  • A well-stocked bookmarks bar on your search engine with relevant sources for studying

Effective Communication is Key

FWA employees who are recent college graduates and FWA interns still in school agree that communication is one of the most important components of success in both the academic and professional arenas. Learning to communicate effectively with professors, peers, and colleagues, as well as how to analyze an audience for presentations and group projects helps to build a strong foundation for project management and future project interviews.

The emergence of COVID-19 and subsequent lack of in-person communication opportunities have caused many to adjust their communication styles and very quickly embrace new technology. This is true for not only design professionals collaborating on projects, but also for college professors and students having to improve time management skills with the increased need for self-imposed deadlines. Issues with technology are unavoidable, therefore communicating effectively with those who can help, whether it is fellow students, professors, or colleagues, eases the transition to the virtual world.

What about Test Taking?

Test taking within the A/E/C industry requires practice, focus, and a solid command of the subject matter that will be presented on the exam. Preparing for college exams, Fundamentals of Engineering (FE), Principals of Engineering (PE), Architect Registration Examination (ARE), Fundamentals of Surveying (FS), Principles and Practices of Surveying (PS), and the four-part Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE) should not be aimless and without proper guidance and discipline. Learning effective time management, establishing a routine that works for your schedule, and becoming familiar with the study materials are all methods used by current and aspiring FWA professionals.

Routine, Routine, Routine

This may seem like a given, but establishing a realistic routine can facilitate ultimate exam success. FWA professionals recommend planning out a study schedule in advance, allotting for review sessions, and getting into a routine based on the time of day that you tend to work the most effectively. By falling into this schedule, studying will not seem like an extra chore, rather an essential part of the day.

Familiarity with Materials

It’s rare to walk past the desk of an A/E/C professional and not see them working out numbers on a calculator. Becoming familiar with and routinely practicing with the necessary materials that will be used during the exam is imperative. Becoming efficient using the reference manuals on the computer, using shortcuts such as CTRL-F to search, and using solve functions on the calculator to save time with statistics and calculus questions will allow for effective time management during the actual test. When in doubt, YouTube it out! Utilizing online resources and observing how others work out equations can help devise a system that works best for you and your learning style.

Work Hard, Play Hard, Avoid Burnout

Learning to effectively work and study within the confines of COVID-19 can be challenging but implementing the aforementioned tips can help, as can setting and celebrating short-term goals along the way. It is important to work and study hard but equally as important to take breaks along the way that allow for relaxation and time to reflect on the progress that has been made.

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” – John Quincy Adams

Blog Contributors: Veronika Vall, EIT | FWA Project Engineer; Seth Orsini, EIT | FWA Project Engineer; Scott Forsythe | FWA Project Engineer; Allison Rogers | FWA Architectural Intern

Solanco High School Activities Building

Solanco High School Activities Building

FWA provided design and construction administration services for the renovation of Solanco High School’s sports activities building, which was damaged by a windstorm in March of 2018. The building includes weight training, wresting rooms, the football locker rooms, and shower and toilet rooms for both men and women. FWA provided architectural, civil engineering, and surveying services for the project.

The building’s upper level design is to accommodate the high school varsity and junior varsity wrestling program. The space is a 4,424 square foot room, with wrestling mats on all floors and walls to 8” high. A wrestling locker room and staff offices are provided. A girl’s locker room facility was also included on the upper level to support the girls’ sports programs, associated with the tennis courts and athletic field, both adjacent to the building. The lower level’s design includes the varsity and junior varsity football program’s showers, locker room, toilet room, coaches’ conference room/team room, and offices. The lower level also has a trainer’s room to be used for the various athletic events that occur on the High School’s campus. The building was designed to meet the ADA guidelines on both the upper and lower levels.

Services provided by FWA included existing conditions survey, programming, schematic design, bid document preparation, permitting, cost estimates, and construction administration.

Located at Shucks Regional Park in Harford County.

Miracle League Adaptive Baseball Field

Play Ball! FWA provided full service engineering design, surveying, architectural design, and landscape architecture services for the Miracle League adaptive baseball field located at Schucks Regional Park in Harford County.

The Miracle League of Harford County’s mission is to allow children and adults with disabilities the chance to play baseball on the specially designed rubberized fields.

Our engineering scope of services included the design of the field’s location, site layout, grading and site improvements to support the field, stormwater management and water quality facilities, sediment and erosion control, and on-site storm drainage systems.

FWA’s surveying team provided a topographic survey and construction stakeout services of the area for the field placement, the respective stormwater management facilities, and ADA parking area and accessible pathway. Architectural services were provided for the dugouts and FWA’s landscape architecture team prepared the landscape plans.

For more information on this project and its positive impact on the community, please visit https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/harford/aegis/sports/cng-ag-sp-miracle-league-field-update-0708-20200708-v6r4ysf2x5cbxh4uaqmv2nud74-story.html?fbclid=IwAR3384I5hzAK2Oi2rMGRYS-BibkBWOS-cg093eayEFMIDG69e88kKRrU_sE

Photos provided by Mid-Atlantic Photographic, LLC.

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ABC Greater Baltimore Entrance

ABC Greater Baltimore Construction Education Academy

FWA designed the Baltimore Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractor’s new headquarters, as well as the space for their Construction Education Academy.

One-sixth of the 28,000 SF is allotted for ABC’s corporate offices, while the remaining space contains classrooms and training labs for various construction trades, as well as conference rooms and gathering areas.

This adaptive reuse project is a tenant fit-out of the A. Hoen & Co. building, a former lithographic plant and Maryland Historical Trust-recognized historic building. The building had been vacant since 1981 and the design integrated the historic elements of the building such as the masonry, the large warehouse style windows, industrial barn doors, and original lithograph blocks.

The project was completed in September 2020.

“This project matters because there is a shortage of construction workers in the Baltimore region. This project is going to bring a new era into the region for construction training.”

– Ted Jasinski, AIA, NCARB, FWA Vice President and Director of Architecture

ABC Baltimore Construction Education Academy

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Scouts BSA Event at FWA

FWA Hosts Scouts BSA Troop 1920 for Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

February 20th was recognized by the National Society of Professional Engineers as Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, in which schools and individuals were encouraged to engage and introduce girls to engineering and the world of STEM. At FWA, we took this opportunity to share our knowledge of engineering with local Scouts BSA Troop 1920, Harford County’s first all-female BSA troop.

After weeks of preparation by members of our engineering team, FWA opened its doors to the troop on the evening of the 20th and FWA engineers, Veronika Vall and Zashary Orengo, led a presentation focusing on “Girl Day”. The content of the presentation aligned with the requirements needed for the girls to obtain their engineering merit badge.

The troop was then divided into groups, each led by a FWA engineer. The groups designed micro bio-retention facilities by following a detail created by our engineers. The completed facilities went into a scale model depicting a developed site. In this case, the site consisted of a parking lot, commercial office building, landscaping, and three micro bio-retention facilities. The girls were then able to use water to create a 1, 10, and 100-year storm, each of which showed the results of the micro-bio’s filtering capability and ability to clean the water, post-runoff, from the site.

To learn more about inspiring today’s youth to discover engineering, please visit   http://www.discovere.org/.

FWA Scouts Event FWA Scouts Event 2 FWA Scouts Event 3
Homestead-Wakefield-Scope-Study.pdf---Adobe-Acrobat-Pro

Homestead/Wakefield Elementary School Master Plan and Scope Study

FWA provided a feasibility study and design to modernize Homestead/Wakefield Elemtary School in Harford County, Maryland. Though the project did not progress to the construction phase, the design of the two story 140,000 SF building for a state-rated capacity of 1,029 students included multiple classrooms, common areas, a media center, tiered computer labs, art rooms, vocal rooms, music rooms, multi-purpose gymnasium with storage for the local Department of Parks and Recreation, cafeteria, resource rooms, administration suite, health suite, conference room, staff lounge, teacher workroom, planning areas and mechanical rooms.

The exterior design included an environmental interpretative area, fenced playground, tot lot, lighted walkways, and ballfields.

The design incorporated LEED Silver requirements by utilizing recycled and regional materials harvesting, native plants, rain gardens, passive solar design, geothermal materials, daylight harvesting, water-efficient fixtures, rainwater and PV arrays, vegetated green roofs, and a geothermal HVAC system.

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Fallston Middle School

The Fallston Middle School renovations and addition was awarded an Associated Builders & Contractors Award of Merit based on the FWA’s and Northpointe Builders’ work as architect and general contractor, respectively.  The project, located on the heavily traveled Mountain Road in Fallston, Harford County, included four new classrooms and support spaces, new connecting corridor at ends of first and second floors of instructional wings in,  cafeteria expansion, a new auxiliary gym, renovated bathrooms to allow handicap accessibility, and a connecting corridor and lobby.  Working with Harford County Public Schools, FWA created a curved exterior facade design for the corridor connection with multiple color glass panels to add a sense of whimsy to the school.

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Villa Maria

The need for a local school serving Harford and Cecil Counties to address special needs students was a high priority of Catholic Charities of Baltimore.  The design developed as a school serving up to 60 students with the ability for the building to be repurposed as a flex or office building in the future.  The 20,0000 square foot building includes seven classrooms, library, gymnasium/multi-purpose room, health suite, administrative offices and specific purpose resource rooms. The site provides for ample parking, playground, basketball court, and baseball/softball field with a fence and gate system surrounding the site for security.

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Coppin State University Science and Technology Building

FWA provided site utility layout services for the new Science & Technology Building at Coppin State University of the two years of ongoing construction. Working for Stella May Contracting, surveyors laid out all underground utilities for the approximately ten acre site along North Avenue and Warwick Avenue in Baltimore City. Construction is projected to complete in 2015.

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Cecil College English & Math Building

FWA performed construction stake out and an as-built services for the grading plan, stormwater management plan and the roof of the English & Math Building and new parking lots at Cecil College in North East, Maryland. FWA provided layout for the new 28,683 square foot building and four parking lots. FWA surveyors provided reviews of the engineering plans to catch any mistakes that would become an issues later on to keep the project within the budget and deadline constraints.

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