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Blinn Architecture and Construction Science programs offer students a variety of transfer and career opportunities

Both degrees offer path to high-demand construction management positions

February 27, 2017

When Shea Sikes first arrived at BlinnShea Sikes College, he wasn’t certain what his academic path would be.

A graduate of A&M Consolidated High School, Sikes enrolled at Blinn for three semesters, studying a variety of subjects before enlisting and serving two years in the U.S. Army. After he was discharged in 2015, he re-enrolled at Blinn College and discovered that his military experience had bolstered his focus and discipline.

“In Fall of 2015 I earned a 4.0 grade-point average, and in Spring of 2016 I took my first architecture course,” Sikes said.

As the son of the superintendent at a local construction company, Sikes discovered an immediate affinity for the subject. In Instructor Michael Bunch’s course, Sikes found that he enjoyed the opportunity for hands-on learning.

“Some students in the class don’t have any construction experience, so it’s difficult to visualize,” Sikes said. “When you sketch things out and visualize everything, you can see how the individual parts work.”

Inspired by his academic success and a subject he was passionate about, Sikes applied to Texas A&M and was accepted in time to begin the Summer 2016 semester. After transferring his Blinn architecture credits, he is now on his way toward a Bachelor of Science in construction science.

“I chose to take my classes at Blinn because it works,” Sikes said. “Almost every course transfers to Texas A&M, so if the class you want is full or you prefer smaller class sizes, check out Blinn.”

Blinn’s architecture courses cover architectural drawing, computer-aided drafting, architecture materials and construction, environmental technology, building construction plans, and building construction law, among other topics.

The Associate of Arts Degree in architecture includes the 42-hour core, Architectural Design I and II, Architectural Graphics I, Architectural History I or II, and either Introduction to Architecture, Architectural Computer Graphics, or Architectural Technology I.

The Associate of Science Degree in construction science includes the 42-hour core, Architectural Technology I and II, Principles of Microeconomics, Calculus for Business and Social Sciences, Architectural History I or II, and either Introduction to Architecture, Architectural Computer Graphics, or Architectural Design I.

“Our courses are the true foundational courses necessary to move into the discipline,” said Architecture Professor Keith Sylvester, who has served as the director of construction science and architecture programs at the University of Southern Mississippi and Western Kentucky University. “If a student wants to get into jobs involving the built environment such as urban planning and land development, our courses provide the foundation to understand the historical and the technical standpoints. If a student wants to become an architect, drafter, or know more about how buildings are put together, our courses provide a great foundation. As a two-year program, it’s a bar-none, very solid foundation.”

Craig Jeffrey, Assistant Dean for the Division of Visual/Performing Arts & Kinesiology, said students with strong interpersonal, computer, and mathematics skills perform especially well in Blinn’s architecture courses.

Graduates of Blinn’s Architecture and Construction Science programs may work with a contractor as part of the administrative team in entry-level positions that lead to more advanced jobs such as estimator, job coordinator, or project manager. Program graduates are also qualified for positions in land and project development, technical sales jobs focusing on building materials, systems, and equipment, or positions with government agencies or financial institutions.

Both degrees also offer a wealth of academic transfer opportunities. Blinn has an architecture transfer agreement with Texas Tech University, as well as landscape architecture and urban planning transfer agreements with Texas A&M University that allow students a seamless transition in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. Blinn architecture students have transferred to Texas A&M, the University of Texas-Arlington, Texas Tech, the University of Texas-San Antonio, Sam Houston State, the University of Houston, Boston Architectural College, Baylor University, West Virginia University, Texas State University, and the Savannah College of Art and Design. Each year, several Blinn students transfer to Texas A&M to study architecture or construction science.

“The most important thing our curriculum does is it gives students  an understanding of the three-dimensional nature of buildings and sites,” Sylvester said. “That becomes a very good foundation for students moving into construction management at any university, as students with that understanding tend to be more versatile and career ready.”

Blinn’s architecture courses are some of the fastest-growing on campus, with almost 600 students enrolling in Spring 2017, a 7 percent increase. While the program is based at Blinn’s Bryan Campus, the College recently introduced architecture courses to the Brenham Campus.

“We are very pleased with the growth of these courses and the interest students have demonstrated in architecture and construction science,” Jeffrey said. “These courses offer students a wide variety of options, both in terms of what they can study at the bachelor’s degree level and in the diverse, high-demand career paths available locally and nationally.”

Sikes said he hopes that his Blinn experience leads to the opportunity to work alongside his father one day.

“In my heart, I feel like I want to do high-end residential homes, but really, I am open to anything,” he said. “My dad has been in construction for 20 years, and I would love to be on the same job site as him one day.”

For more information, visit: www.blinn.edu/vpa/architecture.html.