INNOVATION DAY 2022 | civil & environmental engineering

Capstone instructor

Joseph Wieser
Joseph Wieser

The 2022 Senior Capstone course in civil and environmental engineering was taught by Joseph Wieser. To learn more about the civil and environmental engineering projects, please email Joseph Wieser.

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-01 (Recreation Center in Downtown Reno)

    Team: Aspen Fordin, Ryan Sinicki, Jonathan Summers

    As Reno grows bigger, the demand for land becomes more problematic, as the population keeps increasing. So every parcel of land should be utilized, especially in highly populated areas such as in downtown Reno. As there is an unused parcel near Greater Nevada Field (formerly Aces ballpark stadium). Lightning Engineering decided to use that land to build a recreational center, which will increase community engagement in the area as well as revitalize the currently unused parcel. The recreational center will incorporate a public pool, rooms for classes and meetings, a community garden, a permeable parking lot and a turf field. Lightening Engineering will create the building, which will consist of a steel frame and concrete foundation. The drainage system of the turf field includes a slope for runoff as well as a ditch to collect the runoff before it flows into the Truckee River. This recreational center would allow for greater community engagement in downtown Reno, and would support a healthier lifestyle via a pool for recreation and exercise, a field for organized sports and tournaments and a community garden to educate and create a healthier diet.

    CEE-01 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-02 (Ace's Micro-Housing Community)

    Team: Marina Holcomb, Zachary Materne, Aron McCulloch, Mackenzie Santor-Vaz

    The increased number of residents in the Reno area has significantly increased the price of the housing. This has made it harder for low-income residents to find affordable housing while living sustainably. MMAZ Engineering’s solution is to build an affordable micro-housing community in the downtown area. There will be two different floor plans based on single or multi -residential, and a small-scale water treatment plant onsite to treat water for the community garden. The community garden will grow fresh produce which will help the residents spend less on the more expensive grocery items. The micro-homes also will implement sustainable infrastructure using low-flow appliances, solar panels on the roofs to produce electricity and glass plastic films on the windows to help regulate inside temperatures. The engineering principles involved in the design include structural when designing the floor plans, water resources when designing the water treatment and geotechnical when grading the site plans. Our hope is that the Ace’s Estate Micro-Housing Community will help the low-income residents of Reno stay near the downtown area for better access to public transportation and job opportunities.

    CEE-02 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-03 (Chalk Bluff Shopping Center)

    Team: Donnie Borden, Tasnim Halim, Tony Loi, Fernando Torres

    Our project involves planning for the redevelopment of Chalk Bluff and adding a small shopping center at the site to spur growth in the local area.

    The scope of the solution involves using our team’s expertise to create solutions that drive growth. Our plan involves leveling the top of Chalk Bluff and using the resulting cut to fill in the gully west of Chalk Bluff, building a connecting road to the site across the fill to Leroy Street and Mae Anne Avenue, planning a shopping center southwest of the interchange at Robb Drive and I-80, and planning for the water supply and removal needs of the site.

    The engineering principles involved in our project include: 

    • Geotechnical: mass grading, soil testing
    • Hydrology: runoff calculation, pipe design
    • Traffic engineering: traffic studies, road design
    • Structural engineering: foundation design, pavement selection

    Developing Chalk Bluff in a manner consistent with the city of Reno’s design plans could create a place for more middle-density housing, retail and parks that are transit-accessible close to the city, and can benefit the residents of west Reno, Somersett and Verdi with a nearby retail option.

    CEE-03 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-04 (Sandhill Apartments and Commercial Center)

    Team: Chase Dunn, Joshua Harms, William Hayden, Connor Lovoi

    The Sandhill Apartments and Commercial Center aims to bring a sense of relief to the current housing crisis in the Reno-Sparks area by providing affordable living, job opportunities and convenient access to commercial activity. This multidisciplinary land development project will consist of two large residential apartment buildings, community yard space and a full-scale commercial center adjacent to the living corridors. This project utilized three main departments of civil engineering: geotechnical, land development and water resources.

    Dirty R. Engineering has performed a full geotechnical and seismic analysis to understand the subsurface conditions and seismic threats. This allowed us to make ground improvement recommendations and a foundation design based on the ground characteristics. Additionally, our team has developed a full set of civil plans ranging from a site plan to utility and grading plans to recommended floor plans. We wrapped up the design of the project with a full water drainage report and sewer report. The rational method was predominantly used to make our assumptions for water runoff across the site. Our team’s goal was to mitigate any negative environmental or social effects to the surrounding community, while also bringing new economic activity and providing relief to the current housing crisis.

    CEE-04 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-06 (Rainbow Road Reconstruction)

    Team: Catherine Dunagan, Casey Pickett, Samuel Violago, Emily Wolder

    CCES Engineering was tasked with reconstructing the single family home located at 2304 Rainbow Road near Lake Tahoe. This traditional timber home was severely damaged in the 2021 Caldor Fire, as timber framing provides minimal resistance to natural disasters such as wildfire. The goal of the project was to create a sustainable, fire resistant structure that can withstand future natural disasters, while also protecting the owner and their property.

    Our team has chosen to complete the new structure using Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) to maintain the owner’s current aesthetic as well as provide that high level of disaster resistance. Not only will ICF provide a previously unknown level of safety, but it will save on energy costs, repair costs and act as an example of what future disaster safety could look like.

    Along with the redesign of the structure and improvements to the utilities and surrounding area, CCES Engineering has developed drainage and site rehabilitation plans to help with the environmental repercussions of fire and reconstruction, such as excess erosion and runoff.

    CCES Engineering has developed architectural, structural, civil, and environmental plan sets to help convey the chosen design, as well as the calculations used for design.

    CEE-06 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-07 (Wildlife Crossing on U.S. 395 at Granite Peak)

    Team: Justin Clark, Eduart Fonseca-Garcia, Alfredo Gonzalez Leon, Ryan Mitlyng

    In Nevada, on average there are over 500 reported animal-vehicle collisions, costing Nevadans over $20 million in damages and killing over 500 animals per year with research estimating about 50% being unreported. According to Nevada Department of Transportation research on wildlife collisions, U.S. 395 at Granite Peak is one of the top hot spots in Nevada.

    To reduce the number of injuries and fatalities in both civilians and wildlife, RAJE Engineering is designing a wildlife overpass at the proposed location to reduce the cost of damages. The proposed overpass will incorporate a geotechnical report, stormwater design, mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) wall design and a traffic design. The geotechnical report will determine the soil quality bearing capacity for the MSE wall design and precast concrete structures. The MSE wall designs will incorporate stonewalls and geogrid to hold back the soil and include a drainage system. Finally, a detour plan set is made to continue the flow of traffic during construction of the overpass.

    Overall, the wildlife overpass will help reduce the number of animal-vehicle collisions and crash costs at U.S. 395 at Granite Peak, and will allow animals to continue to be connected with their environment.

    CEE-07 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-08 (The Verdi Improvement Project)

    Team: Alyvia Briscoe, Robert Bush, Cameron Marx, Jillian Smith

    The Verdi Improvement Project is a multidisciplinary engineering design that will provide the Verdi-Mogul community with a new development that highlights healthy living through the use of a grocery store, local park and community garden. The Verdi-Mogul area has a rising population, with multiple residential housing developments bringing new families into the community. The population increase creates a need for more local commodity options, a safe place for family engagement and a location for employment options. The JRAC Engineering team has focused on satisfying those needs with the primary purpose of improving the quality of life using health-based commodities and resources and to create new job opportunities.

    To achieve this project goal, civil engineering will be implemented by doing a geotechnical analysis of the land, a structural analysis on the grocery store building design and an asphalt design for the large parking lot. The environmental engineering component will include the sustainable features that will be included throughout the overall design, a landscaping report for the park and store area, a storm water study will be performed, and a water reuse system will be designed for the irrigation system necessary for the garden and park area. A site layout of the entire project will create a deeper understanding of the Verdi Improvement Project, and an engineering estimate will allow the project to have potential for future construction opportunities.

    CEE-08 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-09 (South Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility Expansion Project)

    Team: Angela Dela Cruz, Coby Gualano, Anthony Nicholson, Marco Ortega-Andrade

    The goal of the South Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility (STMWRF) expansion project is to recover all nutrients to sufficient levels (nitrogen and phosphorus) and create effluent that is accepted for potable reuse. This effluent then will be piped to the Mount Rose Water Treatment Plant (MRWTP) for treatment and reuse. Another goal of the plant expansion is to address the algae growth at Huffaker Reservoir, which will be addressed in tertiary treatment. With the effluent treated to A+ quality, the plant can send effluent to the MRWTP. The design will expand the footprint of the facility to accommodate an increased average annual flow of 6.13 million gallons per day (MGD). The addition of grit chambers at preliminary treatment, sedimentation basins at primary treatment, bioreactors in secondary treatment, filters in tertiary treatment and expanded disinfection in tertiary treatment will move the plant towards a more efficient water treatment as well as address the excess algae growth issue.

    CEE-09 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-10 (Truckee Meadows Recreation and Adventure Center)

    Team: Libby Elliott, Spencer Lee, Noah Shek, Taven Thomas

    LAST Associates seeks to provide a solution to the insufficient recreation and exercise space in the northwest region of Reno. No recreation centers have been built in the region over the past several years, despite large population growth. To resolve this issue, LNST Associates has designed a recreation center off Fourth Street that not only will provide much-needed gym and pool space, but a climbing gym and outdoor access to the Truckee River. The project design includes the principles of steel design, geotechnical analysis and an environmental assessment. By providing a space that emphasizes increasing community activity, northwest Reno will see better connectivity and health outcomes. Furthermore, by emphasizing sustainability in the design and access to the river and trails, the recreation center will increase interest in and appreciation of the outdoors. The Truckee Meadows Recreation and Adventure Center will ensure a healthy lifestyle in the northwest Reno community while providing a community space and continuing Reno’s reputation as an outdoor haven. 

    CEE-10 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-11 (The Donna Residences)

    Team: Kayla Hui, Tobin Schultz, Katherine Weber, Dylan Yoro

    The demand for housing in the Las Vegas Valley is increasing as more people migrate to the area. North Valley Engineering is working to design a multi-family townhome community that will provide affordable housing for low-income residents in the North Las Vegas area. The Donna Residences will provide 226 units to help alleviate the growing housing shortage. Throughout this project, the team at North Valley Engineering has worked on developing a technical drainage study, a water network analysis, a set of improvement plans and a project report.

    The drainage study ensures that the project will not negatively impact others downstream or drastically change existing flow patterns. In addition, the drainage study will ensure the homes are adequately flood protected. The design of the water network analysis will ensure that the correct water pressure and flow is delivered to all of the units throughout the residences, even during peak or fire flow conditions. Finally, the improvement plans combine all aspects of the project’s design in a single document that can be built ensuring the safety of the public.

    CEE-11 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-12 (North and South Bridge)

    Team: Daniel Mullins, Manuel Pizana-Rivas, Tanjina Quamrul Alam, Antoinette Rose

    Wingfield Park is located in the middle of the Truckee River in Reno, Nevada, conjoined by the north and south sides of the Arlington Avenue bridge, originally constructed in 1921 and 1938 respectively. To mitigate past flooding events and reset the design life of the existing bridge, a new bridge will be constructed without piers in the middle of the river (single span), giving a new design life of up to 75 years. The scope of this project to set to demonstrate structural engineering (calculations of the capacity and demand of the bridge), hydraulic engineering (river flow calculations to allow a higher flow beneath the bridge), transportation engineering (increase width of the bridge to allow for higher multimodal capacity) and geotechnical engineering (analyze the existing soil of the site). The engineering principles will be constructability of the project and mechanics of the materials. A key part of engineering when it comes to structures is if it is feasible and its relationships with the materials to be successful. This project will improve transportation in the area, help prevent flood events and use updated engineering design disciplines for the new bridges.

    CEE-12 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-13 (Pack Lift Campus Gondola)

    Team: Maxwell Crow, Kaitlynn Mattern, Alisa Prary, Amanda Singleton

    The University of Nevada, Reno campus has buses that traverse the external border of the campus, but has no alternative travel options for the interior of campus. This can be especially cumbersome for people with mobility problems since the campus is full of hills and stairs. Pack Lift is a proposed gondola with six landing stations positioned throughout campus. Every station and all of the gondola cars will be fully handicap accessible. The project proposal includes a plan set to show where on campus the landing stations will be; calculations and design for the cars, towers, and cables; an energy analysis; a sustainability evaluation; and a drainage analysis. A construction plan and a cost analysis are also included.

    This project incorporates structural, environmental and transportation aspects of civil engineering. The structural portion consists of tower design, gondola car design and landing station with Americans with Disability Act (ADA) accessibility. The environmental aspect includes a sustainability analysis, storm drainage management plan and alternative power solutions.

    The project will help draw students to campus by making it more accessible and more fun.
    Having a way to travel through campus while soaring through the sky over your peers sounds fun!
    Our sincere thank you to Joseph Wieser and Mandy Holback!

    CEE-13 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-14 (Steamboat Creek Estates)

    Team: Elisio Medina, Heidi Miller, Cristina Munoz Robles, Kyle Ryan

    Due to the massive influx of new residents moving into Northern Nevada, Reno has felt a housing shortage. With home prices at an all-time high and housing supply at an all-time low, becoming a homeowner is starting to seem like an impossible dream. With a younger generation adding to the buyer force, the housing market has been red-hot recently, and the technology companies coming into Reno have only fueled the market. The new Steamboat Estate Housing Development proposed by Triple M&R plans to add 138 single family homes in south Reno, just north of Pleasant Valley. The intent of the development is to help aid the ongoing housing shortage. This new development will add new homes to the community while minimizing its environmental impact by having open space to preserve wildlife and natural vegetation. By adding new homes to the market, we plan to alleviate some of the stress that buyers and sellers are feeling. Overall, the development will have a positive impact for the community by creating a new and safe neighborhood. 

    CEE-14 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-15 (Lambent Senior Living - Senior Living Community in Reno)

    Team: Stephani Cooksey, Joseph Gallien, Anthony Gugliuzza, Jacquelyne Kittredge

    Lambent Engineering is responsible for the design of a 24-acre senior living community in Reno, Nevada. The senior population is the fastest-growing population in Northern Nevada, and as such, is disproportionately displaced by the housing crisis in the state. Our team seeks to remedy this issue by providing a safe and accessible living community to the age 60+ population. In order to design the senior living community, we have divided the design into distinct subdisciplines of civil engineering. The scope of engineering design involves water resource engineering, structural engineering, geotechnical engineering and partial transportation engineering. We have designed the wastewater system and stormwater system, which is compiled into a civil plan set. We also have designed the structure for a 50,000-square-foot recreation center, as well as the floor plans for the recreation center and all homes within the community, and compiled this into a structural plan set. The foundations of the structure also were designed and compiled into a geotechnical plan set. This design will positively impact the community by providing affordable housing to Reno’s largest growing population.

    CEE-15 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-16 (Connection Residences)

    Team: Clint Andersen, Payton Griffin, Dalton Scheiner, Ryne Zapotoczny

    Since 1980, the frequency and magnitude of wildfires in the western United States has continuously increased. As a result, more and more families are displaced by wildfires every year. Connection Residences will provide over 120 affordable homes in the Reno-Sparks area to these families that lose their homes due to a wildfire. The development will be centered around a community center that will aim to promote community interaction and promote mental health for those dealing with trauma from being displaced by a wildfire. Principles of structural engineering, water resources engineering, engineering hydrology and land development all will be utilized in the completion of this project through the design of the community center, water distribution system, stormwater management system and the site layout. Connection Residences will boost the local economy through the creation of jobs and the generation of more customers to local businesses. Furthermore, the community center will bring residents together to rebuild a sense of community and belonging for those who may have lost that feeling after being displaced by a wildfire. 

    CEE-16 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-17 (Robb Drive South Expansion)

    Team: Danyal Ali, Erik Fine, Benjamin Gamer, Toby Sturgeon

    Due to rapid growth in the Reno/Sparks area, our current infrastructure is coming to its capacity. Highway and roadway traffic volumes increase each year while our facilities struggle to catch up. There is heightened concern for safety during months when weather conditions such as heavy snow and ice make driving conditions difficult. Our team proposes the buildout of a new truck stop on the southern end of Robb Drive to accommodate the growing Reno/Sparks region and to provide enough facilities for the public to get to their destinations safely. To accommodate our proposed site, we will need to make transportation improvements along Robb Drive to accommodate the expected traffic influx due to our site. Our project consists of improving the existing infrastructure such as the freeway ramps and intersections as well as constructing a new signalized intersection at the south end of Robb Drive. We also will need to extend the current Robb Drive road segment to provide access to the truck stop site. Various disciplines of civil engineering were needed to design a solution to this infrastructure project, these sub-disciplines being geotechnical, transportation and structural engineering.

    CEE-17 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-18 (Talus Valley Elementary School)

    Team: Parker Allison, Marissa Maidman, Alex Tang, Samantha Triest

    In the south Truckee Meadows area of Reno, Nevada, elementary schools have suffered from overcrowding, with four of six schools approaching capacity or already over capacity. The proposed Talus Valley Elementary School (TVES) is set to be part of the planned Talus Valley Development and is designed to relieve the severe overcrowding of the local elementary schools, while providing aid to the planned unit development.

    The TVES Development will be located off Mira Loma and Codexa Way. TVES is to be located on a 61-acre parcel, eight acres of which will be used. The scope of the project includes a Civil Improvements plan set, Structural plans and Foundation plans. The Civil Improvements plan set will be typical of what would be provided to a contractor. The engineering principles involved in the civil plans are grading design and site layout design. The structural plans include designing steel members to support the structure and a foundation. The impact of the elementary school on the surrounding community will be significant, as the overcrowding issue at the local elementary schools will be relieved.

    CEE-18 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-19 (UNR Dive Center)

    Team: Jacob Hernandez, Joshua Serafino, Drew Simard, Chris Zeryny

    As a group, we are planning on designing and building a new diving/aquatic center on the S16 lot of the University of Nevada, Reno campus. The UNR Dive Center will be designed to allow the University to recruit and interest more people by diversifying its athletics. The Dive Center also will be able to be used for community swim teams to teach young kids a different sport. CJDJ has picked a parking lot on campus to build the new dive center. This parking lot is close to all the other athletic stadiums and right across the street from the current swimming pool. We have decided that the dive tower will sit on the southern end facing north of this lot in order to match the surrounding structures. The superstructure of the tower and pool will allow for year-round usage of the Dive Center.

    CEE-19 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-20 (Portable Stormwater Treatment System)

    Team: Sierra Clark, Khoa Nguyen, Catryna Patraw, Olivia Tahti

    Stormwater consists of the runoff from roads after rainfall. In Nevada, stormwater is collected in gutters and culverts, which tend to overflow and can pollute the environment. This overflow often is contaminated with chemicals from cars or agricultural pesticides. The implementation of a portable stormwater treatment system has been funded by the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT). The treated stormwater will be reused to clean the emptied highway culverts. The current culvert cleaning operation is expensive, time-consuming and requires extensive manpower. The addition of a portable stormwater treatment system will increase efficiency in all fields. Water quality analyses were conducted to determine the overall efficiency of the pilot-scale system. This includes a tracer test, jar test and turbidity measurement. The system includes a grit chamber to settle solids; coagulation for chemical addition; flocculation to form larger particles; and a tube settler to again settle solids. The components have been constructed for the transition to a portable system, rather than a permanent fixture. The orientation of the portable system within a trailer has been completed in AutoCAD, along with detailed designs of the stormwater treatment stages. The overall cost to construct and maintain the portable stormwater treatment system were estimated.

    CEE-20 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-21 (UNR Indoor Athletic Facility)

    Team: Logan Johnson, Brandon Koyama, Alan Martinez Esparza, Anthony Rhodes

    The University of Nevada, Reno Indoor Athletic Facility is designed to give athletes protection from inclement outdoor weather throughout the year. These weather conditions include snow, ice and freezing temperatures during the winter, as well as hot temperatures and hazardous wildfire smoke during the summer, which can last six to eight months on average. These weather conditions can inhibit the health and performance of the athletes who are required to train year-round for their sports. The indoor facility is a multidisciplinary design that incorporates principles of geotechnical, structural and environmental engineering subdisciplines. Geotechnical engineering will be applied to design a stable foundation for the facility, structural engineering will be applied to create a steel building design that safely accommodates all loads of the facility and environmental engineering will be applied to conduct a stormwater runoff analysis and design a stormwater detention basin. This facility was designed to be multifunctional to fulfill both the needs of the university and the community, and could be used to host youth athletic training camps, social and entertainment events..

    CEE-21 Lighting Talk

  • CEE-22 (Wieser Ranch)

    Team: Grace Ericson, Hunter Morris, Mikayla Shults, Hector Silva

    Wieser Ranch is a 50-acre stretch of land located east of Pyramid Way on Wingfield Hills Road in Sparks, Nevada. This land is currently unused. Our team developed this land into a subdivision called Wieser Ranch. The purpose of the proposed housing development is to increase the housing supply in the Reno/Sparks area. In addition to this goal, our team wanted to provide a community that promotes a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, when considering site locations, adequate land was a necessity, as we planned on providing a park. This site was selected because of its ideal location, large size, flat slope and existing drainage infrastructure. The design of this site will encompass multiple subdisciplines within civil engineering. These subdisciplines will include land development, geotechnical engineering, water resource engineering and structural engineering. The engineering products our team completed include: a civil improvement planset, structural planset, plot plan for typical lots, Truckee Meadows Water Authority Planset and a geotechnical Report. Wieser Ranch successfully provides a total of 175 lots, a community park and pond, a fully functioning and specification-compliant storm drainage, sewer and potable water systems and adequate engineered grading. All of those components are necessary for a successfully developed community.

    CEE-22 Lighting Talk