Parking at Union Station is Focus of WPI Student Project

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Worcester's Union Station, the long-neglected transportation hub of the commonwealth's second-largest city, is now being revitalized and expanded as part of a major renewal of the city's core. Three WPI students have contributed to the project with their recent design of a 500-car parking garage proposed for the area behind the station.

Civil engineering majors Carolyn LaCamera, Eric Pauly and Richard Peary completed a preliminary design-build proposal for the garage as their Major Qualifying Project (MQP), a WPI degree requirement. Cynthia Blondin, civil engineering manager for the Worcester Redevelopment Authority (the agency guiding the revitalization), Leonard Albano, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Guillermo Salazar, associate professor of CEE, served as project advisors.

The revitalization is also expected to include restaurants, retailers and offices; the garage is intended to supplement existing parking areas for the influx of commuters expected to be drawn to the area,. "The WRA provided site dimensions, design constraints and project goals," says Pauly." Our challenge was to analyze each of the integral components of the design and construction process within the two months we had to complete our work."

"We designed various components and developed a construction schedule and cost estimate, says LaCamera. "Our final cost estimate was $6.3 million -- compared to the WRA's projected $6.2 million final cost. "The main benefit our project gave us was exposure to how civil engineering is carried out in the real world."

"The students worked extremely hard to meet the goals and constraints established for the project," says Blondin. "The WRA learned from the unbiased ideas the students presented in the MQP."

The MQP is one of three projects all of the university's undergraduates undertake as part of the innovative WPI Plan, a flexible, exciting and academically challenging program introduced in 1971. Under the Plan, students are provided with unique opportunities for integrating classroom studies with preprofessional academic projects conducted on campus or at companies, agencies and project sites in the U.S. and abroad. Through the MQP, students solve real-life problems in their major field of study. The goals of the MQP include the development of creativity, self-confidence, and the ability to communicate ideas.

LaCamera, daughter of Richard and Susan LaCamera of Lakeville, Mass., is co-captain of the varsity field hockey team and a member of the lacrosse club. She has accepted a position with Turner Construction in Boston after she graduates in May. WPI is a family affair for the LaCameras. Richard LaCamera graduated in 1995 and Douglas LaCamera is a junior at the university. Both brothers are management majors.

Pauly, who will also graduate in May, is the son of John and Marcia Pauly of East Montpelier, Vt. He is a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and the varsity crew team and will work as an analyst for Andersen Consulting in Boston after graduation. All three students are members of Chi Epsilon, the civil engineering honor society, and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Peary, son of Richard and Christa Peary of Sidney, Maine, was a member of WPI's varsity crew team. He graduated in December. Peary completed his Interactive Qualifying Project, another WPI degree requirement, at the university's Bangkok Project Center. He is currently traveling in Thailand before beginning a job in that country with Stone & Webster Engineering.

An independent technological university founded in 1865, WPI is renowned for its project-based educational program. Under the WPI Plan, students are provided with unique opportunities to integrate classroom studies with preprofessional projects conducted on campus and at off-campus locations throughout the world.

WPI was ranked among the top 50 national universities in the 1997 edition of U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges Guide and was ranked 35th among the top national institutions in the magazine's Best College Values report.