ICCU Arena Provides Unique Learning Opportunities
Civil engineering students study arena construction to learn about wood engineering.
The Idaho Central Credit Union Arena won’t just bring state-of-the-art facilities for the University of Idaho’s basketball teams and entertainment acts.
It will also create a classroom for civil engineering students who can learn in real time as the facility is built.
In fall 2018, the College of Engineering will offer “Timber Design,” a 400- or 500-level civil engineering course.
“I’m very excited about the arena because we will have an actual case study being built on the U of I campus,” said Assistant Professor Ahmed Ibrahim of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “Typically, in these types of design courses, we dive deep into a lot of equations and expose students to a lot of codes and procedures that go into completing a project. Having this case study on campus will allow us to connect our students with a real architectural firm and construction contractor in charge of building the arena.”
The course will introduce students to the types of timber being used in the arena project, as well as the mathematical equations that factor into the physical attributes of the arena and other residential and commercial wood buildings. In addition to the arena, Ibrahim will incorporate U of I’s other wood structures — such as the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center and Student Recreation Center — into the coursework.
In preparation for the class, Ibrahim worked with the Idaho Forest Products Commission (IFPC) to discuss the sustainability aspects of the arena project, and the commission provided resources for the students. IFPC’s vision is to maintain Idaho’s working forest in a sustainable way.
“Once we have the design information about the arena, we will have students examine the plans and be able to see how it will be designed, detailed and then the methods of construction,” Ibrahim said. “For example, we will focus on the design of wood trusses, frames, columns, bracing systems and arch girders, and finally on the design of connections between different timber elements. We will also look at design details, and how these features withstand vertical loads and lateral loads, such as seismic and wind loads.”
The course will be available to graduate and undergraduate students.
“I think the arena will be a great addition to the school,” Ibrahim said. “I have had many graduate students ask for a class like this, and some undergraduate students will choose to go to a school specifically for timber design.”