Building Science Opens Robins & Morton Construction Field Lab

BSCI students and Habitat for Humanity at work at the Robins and Morton Construction Field Lab high bay building

The College of Architecture, Design and Construction at Auburn University dedicated the Robins & Morton Construction Field Laboratory in March of 2020 and began using it for classwork fall 2020.

The newly renovated field laboratory was made possible through a generous gift of more than $1.3 million dollars from construction management firm Robins & Morton.

Unrivaled in size and capability, the construction field lab features a high-bay building with four bays, two of which are fully enclosed and protected from the elements. With 30-foot ceilings, this space gives students the opportunity to build prototypes of taller structures that may need to utilize scaffolding. The onsite classroom holds 30 to 40 students and was modeled after a professional construction management setting. 

Professor Mike Hosey teaches the service learning course that is a graduation requirement for every building science student. The Robins & Morton Construction Field Lab is constantly busy with Hosey’s students as they build walls, gather tools and create safety and communication plans. The field lab has plenty of uses beyond coursework, including research and service-learning projects. “We have a lot of student groups that take on service projects,” said Hosey, “and they’ll come to me for help and for tools. It’s just given us an opportunity to really grow in a lot of ways.”

With its practical but highly sophisticated facilities, the Robins & Morton Construction Field Lab is giving Auburn students the professional, hands-on training they need to be effective construction managers. While learning theory in the classroom is important, being able to apply it in the field is vital to their success in the future. “It’s equipment, labor and materials that all goes in together to make it happen,” Hosey said. “These students are like a sponge and they’re wanting to learn as much as they can.”

Related people:
Richard Burt, Mike Hosey