Bamboo beams featured in new Williamson County Regional Airport - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Bamboo beams featured in new Williamson County Regional Airport terminal

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WILLIAMSON CO. -- A former SIU student is helping change the face of architecture in southern Illinois. 

Luke Schuette is the Director of Research and Product Development at Lamboo Technologies, and the bamboo product he helped engineer is now becoming part of the new terminal at Williamson County Regional Airport. 

"The key is, inherently as a raw material, as a bio-based material, it's about three times stronger than timber on average. In tensile strength, it's over ten times stronger when you compare it to timber," Schuette explained.

Not only is Schuette an SIU alum, his company is based in central Illinois. Airport leaders are excited about the local ties.

"This whole project we've tried to reflect southern Illinois and the importance this has, not only to this airport, but to our region," said Doug Kimmel, Director of the Williamson County Regional Airport.

Schuette says he was pushed to be innovative while in college. Now, current architecture students are getting their own innovative experiences, gaining new ideas for design and construction.

"You kind of get the sense of, like, you want to create even bigger than this," said Luis Castanon, a junior at SIUC.

"It helps seeing any building being built, just to see how it goes together, so you understand what you need to do when you design and how it goes together to make your structure work," explained graduate student Stephen Lauer.

"It's really helpful because we get to see how it's constructed, new methods of construction, and how all the pieces actually go together," added Patrick Szczecina, also a graduate student in architecture.

Schuette is proud this new product is being used in an area close to his heart.

"Here we are, in southern Illinois, and one of the highest performance and most innovative structural materials is being integrated into this roof structure, and we're extremely pleased." 

The new terminal is expected to open next November. The bamboo beams will be visible in the ceiling. 

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