A recent trip to the Kansas statehouse in Topeka provided a group of University of Kansas School of Engineering students with a unique glimpse of government at work at all levels. From fine details about air ducts and sprinklers to a broad overview on lobbying and state finance, 28 junior and senior Fellows in the Self Engineering Leadership Fellowship program learned about the ins and outs of daily life at the Capitol in Topeka.
The Fellows had meetings with top legislative leaders, Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, and House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson. The Fellows learned about the financial challenges facing the state. The group also discussed the importance of attracting engineers to Kanas and keeping them in the state.
Fellows also donned hardhats and got a behind the scenes tour of the construction and renovation work of the north wing of the Capitol, as well as an inside look at some the recently completed building improvements.
The engineers and architects leading the renovation work detailed the challenges posed by the requirements to preserve the historic integrity of the statehouse – including the technology at work behind routing the proper cables to new offices, keeping important machinery free from dust near construction areas and how to install new sprinklers while keeping the historic feel of the building. Jim Rinner from JE Dunn Construction, Kenny Etzel, Project Manager for JE Dunn Construction, Bill Bassette, Project Engineer for Latimer Sommers & Associated P.A. Engineers and
Todd Renyer, Project Manager for Treanor Architects, P.A., guided the group on the statehouse tour.