Missouri S&T students present economic development projects for Vienna, Freeburg

By Colin Willard, Staff Writer
Posted 11/23/22

VIENNA — About 60 students from Missouri University of Science and Technology’s various engineering disciplines set up posters around the Vienna Knights of Columbus Hall on Nov. 15 to …

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Missouri S&T students present economic development projects for Vienna, Freeburg

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VIENNA — About 60 students from Missouri University of Science and Technology’s various engineering disciplines set up posters around the Vienna Knights of Columbus Hall on Nov. 15 to present their ideas for economic development projects in Vienna and Freeburg. Members of the two communities attended the reception and asked the students questions about their proposals.

Joan Schuman, an associate teaching professor in engineering management at Missouri S&T, said the students came from two sections of a project management class.

“The students work on the projects, and they develop a project plan through the process,” she said. “Their plan is the design, schedule and those kinds of things.”

The classes have worked on economic development in small towns in the area for more than 10 years. She works with Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) Executive Director Bonnie Prigge to locate potential cities within MRPC’s eight counties.

There were 17 teams of students presenting their ideas. Proposals included the development of the Rock Island Trail Head, concession stands and bathrooms at city parks, a Freeburg community center, a Vienna pond, building renovations, electric vehicle charging stations, a new stage design at the Maries County Fairgrounds, a “Welcome to Vienna” sign and other 3D-printed attractions in Vienna.

“The students learn so much by doing this because they’re actually doing real projects,” Schuman said. “They’re meeting with real clients, and they’re actually seeing the challenge of real projects. It really helps them a lot. Hopefully, it helps the cities to see some new and fresh ideas on how to do things.”

She said the biggest impact of the projects outside the classroom is getting smaller communities involved in economic development.

Vienna Mayor Tyler “TC” James and alderpersons Brenda Davis and Jesse Jones attended the presentation.

“There are a lot of neat projects,” James said. “It definitely gives us something to think about.”

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