2008 Belize service project creates new water distribution system for local school

Over the 2008 spring break, a group coordinated through the Myers-Lawson School of Construction by Christine Fiori, assistant director of undergraduate programs, industry relations and outreach; and Tony Songer, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, visited Bella Vista, Belize. The group tackled projects for the Our Lady of Bella Vista Primary School in the Stann Creek District of southern Belize. 

Projects there included the design and construction of a water distribution system, a new line for water to run from a tower to the school, four new water storage tanks,  and protective masonry structures for the tanks. The team also built three trash containment structures and hundreds of feet of elevated walking paths for the rainy season.

The Belize service project was sponsored by Virtexco Construction Company, the company’s President and CEO Bob Wells, class of 1973, and his wife, Jan Wells. Participating were

  • Bob and Jan Wells;
  • Jack Davis, College of Architecture and Urban Studies Dean;
  • Christine Fiori;
  • Tony Songer;
  • Melissa Ripepi, then-associate outreach coordinator for the Myers-Lawson School of Construction;
  • Josh Curry-Cohen, of Kiewit Southern;
  • Chris Strock, a construction engineering and management graduate student and the project consultant; and
  • 17 undergraduate and graduate students.

A gift of time, money, and effort

When Robert and Janice Wells heard that some Virginia Tech students and professors wanted to install much-needed water and sanitation systems at a school in Belize, they decided not only to sponsor the effort, but to join in.