Civil Engineering Seniors Build Pergola in LU Community Garden

A group of civil engineering students installed a custom-designed pergola in the LU community garden April 10. Latresmond Darnell, Jose Monge, Lydia Solano, Caesar Tovar and Zachary Vogler created the pergola as part of their Senior Design Project. The LU Community Garden commissioned and funded the project.

The group conceptualized the project from the foundation, studying the geotechnical aspects and doing
Senior Design Project 21
R-L: Latresmond Darnell,Civil Engineering Student Roberto Martinez, Lidia Solano,
Zachary Vogler, Jose Monde, Caesar Tovar, SETEX contractor Nathan Rivers
structural analysis, in order to ensure that the pergola stands the test of time. They consulted with local land surveyor Mark Wiley, SETEX Construction Corp. and Tolunay-Wong Engineers, Inc. as they designed the build.

“We treated this like a professional engineering project from start to finish,” Darnell noted. “We spent a lot of time researching, designing and making revisions based on the feedback from the consulting companies.”

In the end, the pergola took three days to build, with columns sunk two feet in the ground and Simpson tiles used in the rafters. The result is a solid structure built to withstand heavy winds and rain, and lend many years of enjoyment to the LU Community Garden.

“We saw this as an opportunity to leave a mark on the campus and build something permanent that we could always come back and see,” said Darnell. 

Every senior engineering student participates in the senior design course, in which they create a capstone project to represent the culmination of their education.

“This project prepared me better for the field,” said Darnell. “I understand what a lot of my professors have taught me more deeply. We had to spend a lot of time researching and planning to prove that every aspect of the project would work before we started to build, just like we will in the real world.”

Darnell hopes that more students will take on projects to improve the LU campus. “I think this project shows our desire to help grow this community and bring more people here to enjoy our campus,” he said. “Maybe this will inspire future students to do projects like this.”