Middle School Students Learn About Bridge Design

FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. (WOAY) – Greenbrier County middle school students learned about designing sturdy bridges by studying one up close and nearly 1,000 feet above ground.

“We hope they enjoyed the great view, had a great time, learned a little bit of history, learned a little bit about the Gorge and the bridge itself,” said Debbie Graff, a guide at Bridge Walk.

Students from Eastern and Western Greenbrier Middle Schools visited the New River Gorge Bridge on Monday. The students are taking a bridge design class and participating in the West Virginia Bridge Design and Build Contest.

“We talked about the heaviest piece and how much the bridge weighs and the [steel] that it was built with,” said Graff. “Just those histories and how much it costs–that kind of thing.”

The experience taught students a variety of details they may be able to use on their own bridges.

“The kind of shapes that you could use,” said Eli Osborne, an eighth grade student. “Like, the arch and stuff like that. You could use that to, you know, actually make it work.”

The statewide contest judges students’ bridges based on creativity, aesthetic, cost and strength. Over 157 teams are participating in the competition.

Bridge Walk has invited all of them to experience the New River Gorge Bridge for free. Many of them would have never had the opportunity otherwise.

Right now, the highest team on the leaderboard from a Greenbrier County middle school is Team Dawson at 32nd place.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.