MURFREESBORO, Tenn (WKRN) – Concrete is found everywhere – in our roads, skyscrapers and homes, but you might have never thought of getting a degree in it.
However, Middle Tennessee State University is about to cut the ribbon on a brand new, multimillion dollar school building. For students who don’t want to sit behind a des and want a good paying job, this is the field to study, according to the university.
“I love concrete,” said Jon Huddleston, Associate Professor and Director of the Concrete Industry Management Program.
Huddleston said concrete is the foundation of our society.
“Concrete is here to stay. You can’t build a single structure without concrete. Even if it’s a wood house, it has to have a concrete foundation. It’s in everything,” said Huddleston.
This concrete program at MTSU has been around for 26 years, graduating 1,600 alumni into the workforce. School Director Kelly Strong said this new building will solidify the school’s reputation as a talent pipeline for Middle Tennessee construction companies.
“As I’m sure everybody knows, Middle Tennessee is booming, but you can’t boom without infrastructure,” said Strong. “The process of bringing a building into being has become so complicated in the last 30 years that it just requires a college degree.”
Students will graduate from the school with a bachelors of science, learning everything from the chemicals in concrete, concrete safety, even how concrete insurance and financials work; it’s all very hands on.
“Growing up, I played with Legos all the time. That’s what I like to do,” said Aric Rickman, a junior in the concrete industry management program.
Rickman loved working construction in high school.
“I knew I wanted to go to college, but I didn’t want to sit at a desk every day. I really liked working the construction industry, and building things,” he said.
In most buildings, pipe work on the ceiling would be covered up, but not in this brand new school as the duct work and pipe work is completely exposed. The goal is to allow students to see exactly what they are learning.
“We left things exposed everywhere in the building so students can look at a digital model and then walk out in the hallway and look up and see what’s on the plans,” Strong said.
And some day, what students learn in these halls has the potential to transform our skyline.
“We are preparing professionals to build Middle Tennessee,” Strong said.
These are also high-demand jobs. The college says its job placement rate is nearly 100%, and starting salaries are around $65,000 a year straight out of the MTSU program.