Upstate college student taps into childhood passion to add color to campus
Furman University student Isaiah Ives has always been fond of bridges. “Such vast and elegant structures never fail to captivate me! I also love nothing more than creating things. The crafting of anything is something that has always brought me great joy. It seemed like the logical thing to do to combine the two interesting into one, particularly zesty pass time,” Ives told Living Upstate.
Ives has been building large bridges out of K’nex plastic building toys since he was 12 years old, with each structure being bigger than the next.
One day, Ives was walking around a stream near the Furman lake, and thought that the area could use a bit of bridge tomfoolery, so he made the mash dash up to his hometown of Boston to retrieve his K’nex.
“Each bridge took about two hours of research, learning about various structural elements and design ideas. Then, each bridge took about 10 hours to build and 5 hours to construct spread over a period of a few days each! The first bridge was much more of an undertaking than the second due to me being unfamiliar with the ferocious flooding which occurred in the area. This forced me to reinforce the bridge foundation with concrete, adding another few hours of work. It was well worth the time! The bridges have stood for about half a year collectively, withstanding floods, storms, wind, and even a blizzard,” Ives explained.
There are more bridges on the horizon. Ives is in the planning stages for two more bridges, with the first one being a small rail bridge that will carry an outdoor model railroad across the stream. The second structure will be a massive suspension bridge that will cross the widest point of the stream.
“The response to my bridge project has been overwhelmingly positive! The students seem to love the bridges and can often be seen picnicking nearby, campus visitors, particularly residents from the woodlands apartment complex, enjoy dropping by to look at the structures. Even the local wildlife have seemed to accept the bridges into their habitat; the most recent litter of swans hatched from their eggs underneath one of the bridge’s large concrete supports. The university has also been very supportive. Faculty members showed me how to properly pour concrete, and even helped pay for some of the raw materials needed to complete the project. The university police have added the bridges to their rounds, ensuring its safety. Even google maps have added the bridges as a location on their platform.”
Want to visit? Furman University is located at 3300 Poinsett Highway, Greenville