By Michele Benesh

 PLATTEVILLE – On Tuesday, May 5, a group from Brodhead attended a presentation by a team of UW-Platteville senior engineering students on the Platteville campus.

The students have worked all semester to design a waterwheel to be placed at the former power house location at the foot of the Race, as part of the Pearl Island Recreational Corridor project. The previously visited Brodhead on two different occasions to study the proposed site, take measurements of water flow, dimensions, and other pertinent factors, and to make a preliminary presentation and gather input from the Pearl Island team.

The purposes of the proposed project are to lure visitors to the area by installing another attractive feature to the race and to potentially generate power to light the walkway from the wheel to the proposed covered bridge at Putnam Park. It would also serve as a symbol of the project’s dedication to environmental responsibility.

The students, under the tutelage of their Professor, Dr. P. B. Ravikumar, made a very well-organized, well-researched, and professional presentation, after which they surprised the Brodhead group with a large original oil painting depicting the appearance of the area with the waterwheel installed.

As the project proceeds, a certified civil engineer will need to study the team’s proposals and verify that their calculations and design recommendations are accurate. The specifics of the power generation aspect of the project were beyond the scope of these students’ area of expertise and is expected to be handed over to an electrical engineering student team next semester.

The partnership between the UW-Platteville College of Engineering and the Pearl Island project is invaluable, as it provides thousands of dollars worth of services at no cost. The students gain valuable real-world experience, and the project is the beneficiary.