Seating in the Country Kitchen restaurant’s conference room was hard to come by when engineering students from Missouri University of Science and Technology met with city officials and business leaders to discuss the improvement projects they’ve surveyed this spring. The recent meeting was the culmination of the students’ work, as they provided possible solutions for improving a number of city-related infrastructure troubles, from sidewalks in disrepair to renovations needed at Recklein Auditorium.
The goal of the entire experiment, explained Mardy Leathers was “to help identify our assets and how to better utilize them.” Leathers serves as president of the Cuba Development Group, which hosted the dinner and symposium.
Students were grouped into teams and then assigned a leader from within the city to head up their assessment projects. “These are real projects,” Leathers said, “ones that are going on in the city of Cuba right now—and that’s what makes it so exciting.”
MS&T instructor Dr. Joan Schuman, whose class participated in the symposium, added that she felt “very strongly that students learn a lot more by having real projects and by working closely with municipalities.”
Student teams gave visual and oral presentations on a variety of topical problems related to Cuba’s infrastructure, including adding green space at the Barnett Business & Technology Park, reducing traffic snarls around the Cuba R-2 campus, development of Phase 3 of the Project Oak commercial redevelopment plan near I-44, expanding usage of the Cuba Municipal Airport, renovating Recklein Auditorium, improving storm water drainage at the railroad viaduct on Highway 19, creating a long-term plan for sidewalk replacements, and making building improvements both to Cuba Animal Control and the Cuba Police Department facilities.
Students offered possible solutions, along with detailed cost analyses so that the city might work from a preliminary budget if any of the projects are considered in the future.