Capstone instructors

Sherif Elfass Headshot
Sherif Elfass
Gokhan Pekcan Headshot
Gokhan Pekcan

The 2024 Senior Capstone course in civil and environmental engineering was taught by Sherif Elfass and Gokhan Pekcan. To learn more about the civil and environmental engineering projects, please email Sherif Elfass or Gokhan Pekcan.

About the department

For over 120 years, we've been helping Nevada design safe and sustainable communities. Visit the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Explore the projects

  • CEE-1 4th Street Center

    Students: Eden Ansell, Amanda Knowles, Ore Mogboyin, Jess Szostak

    We are designing a mixed-use building on the corner of Fourth and Washington streets in Reno.


    Students: Laren Bowen, Sebene Fikre-Selassie, Tarra Mora, Alex Shidla

    We are designing a granular activated carbon filtration system to address the excess dissolved organic nitrogen at Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility

  • CEE-3 Bike Link

    Students: Ryan Coats, Joe Maier, Luis Valdez, Chris Wall

    Creative Engineering, LLC (CEE Team-03) is enhancing multimodal travel opportunities between the University of Nevada, Reno and Midtown by redesigning lane configurations along University Way/Center Street to enhance bike lanes and connect to the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway.

  • CEE-4 Truckee-Verdi Estates

    Advisors: Silas Callahan, DOWL; Kelly Keselica, College of Engineering lecturer

    Students: Logan Groth, Mason Kemper, Philip Mackovski, Colby Quiggle, Cohen Woster

    Our project is a residential land development project that incorporates horizontal construction. The project consists of utility and grading design. Within this, complete water distribution, sanitary sewer system and storm sewer designs will be finalized. Grading was calculated in order to accommodate for many potential foundations and storm water drainage. A detention basin also is designed to accommodate for standard codes and regulations when dealing with runoff. Roadway asphalt concrete and concrete sidewalks also were designed. Traffic analysis was done to determine the best entry into the residential location.

  • CEE-5 Green Vision Engineering

    External Advisors: Eric Berg, Atkins Realis; Mark Demuth, University Civil and Environmental Engineering Department; Jennifer Shonlau, Lithium Nevada 

    Students: Aliana Funes, Kenny Hoskin, Natalie Luthy, Ryan Saulnier, Chet Shemchuk

    Green Vision Engineering is focused on sustainable design, particularly, green infrastructure. The team is designing a bioretention basin in the Manzanita Bowl on the south end of the University of Nevada Reno, Campus. The basin will collect runoff from the campus area west of the quad and south of the Jot Travis Building. An overflow plan has been organized in the event of a major storm. The bioretention basin will be designed to have native Nevada landscape, requiring minimal maintenance. The vegetation also will add a level of natural stormwater pollutant filtration to the system. A greenhouse will be placed near the bioretention area and will serve as a research and agricultural service at the University. An additional level of filtration will be incorporated for reuse purposes, potentially offsetting some of the water demand on campus. 

  • CEE-6 The EnviroBuild: Sustainable Shelters for Renewed Lives Project

    Students: Luis Aboytes, Gabriella Christian, Madison Reger, Jordan Winzenread

    This project aims to establish a sustainable tiny home community in downtown Reno to provide secure housing for the homeless. The EnviroBuild project, utilizing shipping container homes, prioritizes accessibility, longevity, cost-effectiveness and sustainability. Located strategically near essential resources, the site fosters self-sufficiency. Each home will have a customized concrete foundation for stability, while the durability of shipping containers suits Reno's weather conditions. Funding from various sources minimizes costs, allowing for essential modifications and amenities. Environmental sustainability is prioritized through analyses to protect the nearby Truckee River. The project integrates engineering, location planning and design to provide shelter as well as to foster community integration. To ensure success, tasks for the upcoming year are outlined, including site survey, base map development, site plan creation, grading plan, demolition plan, geotechnical and hydrological reports, drainage assessment, structural analysis calculations, foundation design and utility network design

  • CEE-7 Gerlach Bridge and Campground

    Industry Advisor: Megan Sulezich, Wood Rodgers Inc.

    Students: Lindsay Mattice, Alexandria Mustard, Adam Payne, Grace Stevens

    The Gerlach Bridge and Campground project includes a Timber-Concrete Composite Bridge (TCC) and a mixed-use camping area. The bridge features a timber deck with concrete abutments. The campground consists of tent-only campsites and recreational vehicle (RV) campsites. This project allows for increased accessibility to recreational space; promotes revenue to the local community of Gerlach, Nevada; and protects native wildlife species, specifically the Greater Sage Grouse. The campground serves as the intermediary between wildlife protection and human leisure interests. The bridge serves as a means of transportation and connection.

  • CEE-8 Keystone Avenue Bridge and Corridor Reconstruction

    Advisors: Roger Corkill, Construction Materials Engineers; Adam Hand, College of Engineering professor

    Students: Jake Branford, Nicholas Holmes, Levi Kinder-Ebersberger, Jordan Miller

    The Keystone Avenue Bridge and Corridor Reconstruction aims to replace the structurally deficient existing bridge while enhancing multimodal transportation along the roadway to provide a solution for the ever-changing Reno community. As currently constructed, the Keystone Bridge is deteriorating and does not provide access to non-vehicular traffic. Our plan is to expand the space available for use by cutting back the slope just southeast of the bridge and installing a retaining wall. This expansion will allow for a sidewalk and bike path to be placed between the roadway and retaining wall. These additions will drop from the south side of Newlands Park and branch off one way over the Truckee River and down to Riverside Drive, and another way under the south end of the raised bridge to take pedestrians west along Truckee River to Idlewild Park. This project requires the use of multiple engineering disciplines through studies of traffic, existing soil properties and bridge design among others, in order to design a new bridge, flexible pavement roadway, retaining wall and sidewalks that adhere to all necessary codes and standards.

  • CEE-9 Sunset Village

    Students: Christian Aguiar, Edward Mei, Carson Stopani-Humes, Jake Webb

    The project is a single-family subdivision located in the heart of south Reno, accommodating the growing need for affordable housing.

  • CEE-10 Henderson Executive Airport Runway Expansion Project

    Industry Advisors: Anthony Yocca (Kimley-Horn); Joseph Wieser (HDR) 

    Four students standing in a row and smiling at the camera

    Students: Serena Everest, Nathan Hart, Amberlee Ketten, Cooper Thrall

    CANS Consulting is planning to design a runway extension at the Henderson Executive Airport to allow larger aircraft to land and take off from this location, allowing more passengers to avoid Harry Reid International Airport. In addition, the communities near the Henderson Executive Airport need more robust connectivity to commercial facilities, such as Costco. A similar runway extension project took place at the Philadelphia International Airport. In 2014, the $200 million project began and would be completed through several phases and years. Once completed, the runway was extended 1,500 feet. Along with that, several taxi lanes were extended to account for the runway extension. The runway extension was crucial to improve international travel. With longer distances to travel, larger aircrafts may be needed. Thus, the extension allows for expansion of the airport itself and the types of aircrafts that it is able to offer.

  • CEE-11 Hidden Valley Elementary School Revitalization and Reconstruction

    Advisors: Jim Pringle, Stantec; Associate Professor Ramin Motamed

    Students: Steven Avalos-Garcia, Kelli Bishop, Juan Conchas, Eliseo Garcia Cruz

    The project is to design and reconstruct Hidden Valley Elementary School in Reno, Nevada. There are two main needs that the project will address: safety and school improvement. Notably, the school lacks ADA accessibility in its drop-off zones. In addition, there needs to be more crosswalk markings. Our goal is to increase the safety of the students and faculty by performing a transportation analysis and designing roads and sidewalks. School improvements also are needed as Washoe County School District is making an effort to modernize classrooms to improve academic performance. Cutthroat engineering will achieve this by reconstructing the footprint of the classrooms and incorporating greener spaces for students. In addition, sustainable materials will be used throughout the reconstruction per the Reno Master Plan, which encourages sustainable development.

  • CEE-12 Lake Tahoe US50 - SR28 Roundabout with Speed Warning Lights

    Advisors: Nathanial Mangoba, Nevada Department of Transportation; Hao Xu, College of Engineering professor

    Students: Devin Cartwright, Anthony Chavez, Anna Mangoba, Kenia Zelaya

    Safety and operations at the existing intersection of U.S. 50 and State Route 28 in Lake Tahoe can be improved by changing the intersection from a one-way stop controlled high-T to a roundabout. Our team is developing plans to update the intersection design and to develop a new lighted warning system to warn drivers of the need to slow for the roundabout. The light warning system will detect incoming traffic speeds and activate if that speed exceeds the design speed of the downstream curve. The lights will run along the roadside, parallel to the curve radius. This system has potential use as a temporary speed warning system for new traffic patterns or during construction traffic control scenarios. Our demonstration project will include a 3D printed model of the intersection with a demonstration of the speed warning light system.

  • CEE-13 The Bunks Apartments

    Faculty Advisor: Associate Professor Ramin Motamed

    Four students standing on railroad tracks and making the "Wolf Pack" sign with their hands.
    Clockwise from top left: Briana Gant, Kobe Lynch, Ryan Peacock and Aliza Mondragon

    Students: Briana Gant, Kobe Lynch, Aliza Mondragon, Ryan Peacock 

    The Bunks Apartments is a proposed student apartment complex on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. The proposed student living complex is to be designed by Blue and Silver Engineering (BSE) members Briana Gant, Kobe Lynch, Aliza Mondragon and Ryan Peacock. The design will include a soil analysis with a foundation design, the structural design consisting of structural steel moment frames and concrete shear walls, the architectural design consisting of proposed floor plans and elevations and a civil design for asphalt concrete paving and the storm water runoff plan. Calculation sheets also will be provided for the structural and drainage calculations. The design sheets will consist of a title sheet as well as civil, architectural, structural and detail sheets. A 100% design project report will be created and a poster displaying proposed aspects of the project will be provided.

  • CEE-14 RTIA General Apron

    Students: Bryce Albright, Brando Battaglia, Ruben Franco, Nicholas Haskell,

    The apron design for the Reno Tahoe International Airport (RTIA), situated at the intersection of South Rock Blvd and Edison Way, integrates functionality and safety to serve its diverse needs. With meticulous planning, the apron layout accommodates 90 parking spaces for general vehicles, ensuring efficient traffic flow and passenger convenience. Constructed to withstand the demands of aviation operations, the apron is engineered to support Type 3 planes, offering a robust foundation for aircraft movement and parking. The design prioritizes durability and resilience, utilizing high-quality materials and advanced engineering techniques to ensure longevity and stability under varying weather conditions. Safety measures are paramount, with clearly marked designated areas and strategic positioning of service facilities. This enhances operational readiness and passenger safety. Moreover, the apron design incorporates environmentally sustainable features such as stormwater management systems, aligning with RTIA's commitment to environmental stewardship. In essence, the apron design for RTIA embodies a harmonious blend of functionality, safety and sustainability, poised to efficiently serve the needs of passengers, aircraft and airport personnel alike.

  • CEE-15 Otis Vaughn Middle School Replacement Project

    Advisors: Chelsea Cluff, Lumos & Associates; Stella Hardy, CME Inc.; Keith Dennett, College of Engineering associate professor; Mike Wilhelm, J-U-B Engineers

    Students: Michaela Bruns, Elana Ketchian, Karlie Del Santo; Naomi Schlageter

    Washoe County School District (WCSD) infrastructure is aging, with most of its existing schools built in the 1950s and 1960s. This infrastructure needs improvements for the health and safety of the students and staff. In addition, many schools have reached their capacity and classrooms are overcrowded due to the increased grade school population in Reno and Sparks. The main purpose of this project is to address the current health and safety concerns and the capacity limits of an existing school in the WCSD. Urban Engineers has chosen the E. Otis Vaughn Middle School for rehabilitation due to its failing marks in utilities and aging infrastructure. The chosen design and construction will involve three phases and be a build-demo-build. The upgraded facility will be built on the existing sports field while the existing structure is maintained and used for instruction. Once the upgraded facility is completed, the existing structure will be demolished. In the final phase, a new sports field will be developed, replacing the previous school's location.

  • CEE-16 University of Nevada, Reno South Campus Modernization Project

    Industry Advisor: Will Ferreira, Manhard Consulting

    Students: Isabella Abraham, Ajith Mathew, William McGregor, Hayden Wright

    The University of Nevada, Reno South Campus Modernization Project will provide the design of a 16,500-gallon aquarium fed by Manzanita Lake and containing piscine species indigenous to the Great Basin. The project also will include improvements to the multimodal capability of the nearby intersection of University Way and East Ninth Street, such as a mini-roundabout. The purpose of this project is to enrich the local community and increase the safety of pedestrians navigating the southern extent of the University.