CHICO, Calif. – For a second consecutive year, a select group of Concrete Industry Management (CIM) students from California State University, Chico are spending the summer repairing, rehabilitating and preserving historic concrete structures on Alcatraz Island. The students are working full-time as National Park Service (NPS) volunteers and have been supplied with various materials and housing through a cooperative agreement with NPS that keeps CIM students coming back for the next five years.

Along with support from industry partners and BASF, a leading chemical company and supplier of many of the students’ repair materials, the cooperative agreement helps establish the first CIM Preservation Field School after last year’s successful pilot program. The Field School is designed to give students hands-on technical and managerial experience by exposing them to equipment and techniques used in the repair industry and fulfill an internship requirement necessary to earn a bachelor’s degree in CIM.

This year’s project is led by Professor and CIM Director Tanya Wattenburg Komas and Andrew Billingsley who was the student leader of last year’s team and this year’s project manager.

“I am particularly excited that the Field School is extended until 2015 because many of last year’s students gained significant field experience and landed jobs with Structural, a global contracting firm specializing in repair and specialty construction,” said Komas. “The value of the educational experience of the Field School is tremendous.”

“The CIM program at Chico State is a perfect match for volunteer-based Cultural Resource Stewardship programs in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, where we have within our collection of historic buildings and fortifications concrete that dates back to original use of the material in the United States,” said Jason Hagin, Historical Architect for the National Park Service. “Through this partnership, we have created a field classroom where students can experience the effects of time on the material, and they are immediately struck with a sense of preservation, purpose and enthusiasm. There is no doubt that these hands-on learning experiences, which are clearly atypical, will have a positive and lasting impression on the students and on the future of the concrete industry in general.”

Students currently involved in the Field School include Brandon Agles, Steven Aguilar, Kenneth Garcia, Greg Hollingshead, Brian O’Hair, Brian Peart, Phil Petermann and Sofia Salazar. Salazar, the student safety officer for the project, is enjoying her time on the island and getting her hands dirty. “Learning about the different approaches to repair concrete and apply stains, color and other materials is something that you can only learn so much of in a lecture,” Salazar said.

For updates, photos and descriptions of the students’ summer-long project, visit and follow @CIMAlcatraz on Twitter.