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Senior Design Project: It’s About Time

Three Dordt College graduates hope to leave a permanent landmark on Dordt’s campus with their senior engineering design project.

Craig Bielema (Fulton, Illinois), Ashley Prins (Foremost, Alberta), and Chris Wyenberg (Winnipeg, Mannitoba) chose to do a senior design project titled, “It’s About Time: Dordt College Clock Tower.” The trio completed a design and prototype for a landmark clock tower, to be placed in the new main entrance to campus.

One component of the project was a metal sundial and solar calendar that is now being displayed on campus. The students hope that it will keep the rest of the project in people’s minds. The clock tower component of the project will require additional funding.

“A clock tower is an effective promotional landmark on many college campuses. As a unique Christian institution, Dordt College could use a clock tower to not only strengthen its professional campus atmosphere, but also to convey a Christian message of time and its role in one’s life,” say the designers in the introduction of their final project. They have proposed Bible inscriptions on the tower’s base, and included appropriate verses in their project documentation.

The students had to design a cost-effective gearbox, controller, and microprocessor for the clock to maintain accurate time; develop the analemma brick pattern at the base of the project, which together with the clock tower shadow will serve as a solar calendar; and construct the sundial and prototypes.

Dr. Douglas De Boer was the advisor for this senior engineering design team, who said they were thankful to many other people on campus who offered help and support, including President Carl Zylstra, Arlan Nederhof, and the Dordt College maintenance department. They also noted that Link Manufacturing donated scrap material for the sundial, and Sioux Automation provided free manufacturing.