Jack Wright: a golden year for the Arch

20150518 Jack Wright 016Fifty years ago this October, the St. Louis skyline was changed forever by the construction of the Gateway Arch, built as a monument to U.S. westward expansion.

Jack Wright, CE’61, worked for MacDonald Construction, the company that was awarded the contract for construction of the Arch in March 1962. MacDonald Construction was the general contractor on the Arch and sub-contracted the steelwork to the Pittsburgh-Des Moines Steel Co.

The 630-foot-tall Arch is made up of 142 double-walled triangular sections that are covered in quarter-inch-thick stainless steel. The keystone triangular section that connects the north and south legs was put into place on Oct. 28, 1965. It opened to the public in June 1967.

Fresh out of school, Wright worked on surveying and helped ensure quality control throughout the project. He says that the $13 million project was not just a job, it was a learning experience for everyone involved.

“There was an overarching schedule,” Wright says. “But, anytime you have a one-of-a-kind project, you schedule the best you can and you learn things as the project evolves. There’s no template or past work that you can use to help you with a project like this.”

Wright says everyone working on the project knew the Arch was special, but its significance wasn’t clear.

“In that time, we were just happy to have jobs,” he says. “It wasn’t just another project, but I don’t think the workforce viewed it as the celebrity it’s become.”

Wright is proud of his work on the Arch, and he visits every year — on Builders’ Day, which will be held on
Oct. 28 this year.

“Once a year, everyone who worked on the Arch gets together to reminisce and we sign posters and talk with people,” Wright says. “I feel like a rock star when I get to sign them.”

Today, Wright, a member of the Missouri S&T Academy of Civil Engineers, owns Ladue Building and Engineering, a construction consulting firm.

Around the Puck

Generous partners complete ACML fundraising

Thanks to an investment from the University of Missouri System, major gifts from industry partners and alumni support, S&T will break ground on the Advanced Construction and Materials Laboratory (ACML) on Oct. 12, during Homecoming weekend.

[Read More...]

Alumni help with sesquicentennial planning

Seven alumni, including three Miner Alumni Association board members, have been named to Missouri S&T’s sesquicentennial advisory committee. The group is made up of graduates, students, faculty, staff and community members who are involved in planning the university’s upcoming 150th anniversary celebration.

[Read More...]

Using big data to reduce childbirth risks

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, complications during pregnancy or childbirth affect more than 50,000 women annually, and about 700 of them die every year. Steve Corns, associate professor of engineering management and systems engineering, is working with researchers from Phelps County Regional Medical Center through the Ozarks Biomedical Initiative to reduce […]

[Read More...]

Bogan solves Benton mural mystery

Missouri State Capitol muralist Thomas Hart Benton wrote in his memoir about being called into then-Gov. Guy Park’s office and told that a prominent St. Louis politician objected to Benton’s portrayal of black people, especially depictions of slavery.

[Read More...]

Breaking bias

According to Jessica Cundiff, assistant professor of psychological science at S&T, women who consider careers in the physical sciences, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are deterred by stereotypes that impose barriers on the recruitment, retention and advancement of women in STEM.

[Read More...]