New York – March 29, 2010 – The Thornton Tomasetti Foundation has awarded a $9,000 grant to the Cal Poly chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) for the construction of a healthcare clinic in Camilo Ortega, Nicaragua. Cal Poly students will lead the design and construction of the new healthcare facility, to address the region’s unmet healthcare needs.
“We are proud to support Engineers Without Borders’ Cal Poly chapter in their critical work in Nicaragua,” said Richard Tomasetti, chairman of the Thornton Tomasetti Foundation. "It is our mission to improve the quality of life in developing countries by utilizing economically sustainable technology and engineering solutions to help these communities thrive.”
Students from EWB-Cal Poly traveled to the region in September 2008 and met with community and political leaders to evaluate the need for a healthcare clinic. Camilo Ortega has approximately 19,000 residents with minimal access to any form of basic healthcare. The region lacks a clean, sanitary and accessible facility for healthcare professionals and residents.
After plans for the site were designed by EWB-Cal Poly, the team began the first phase of implementation in September 2009, which included the construction of the foundation and retaining wall for the future health care clinic. The health clinic will comprise at least six rooms, which include three examination rooms, a gynecological room, one lab, a minor operations room and a pharmacy.
The site required the construction of a large masonry retaining wall on the downhill side of the plot to protect the building from erosion during the five-month rainy season and is designed to withstand seismic activity that frequents the area. The future shell of the facility will extend from these retaining walls, which will create the foundation for the entire clinic. All excavation, fill and compaction were performed by hand and the masonry walls were laid by a team of skilled community members. The clinic is expected to be completed in June 2010.
The Thornton Tomasetti Foundation, a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization established in February 2008, has two primary missions including funding fellowships, scholarships and internships for undergraduate students, and those planning to pursue graduate studies in building engineering, design or technology and providing financial support for individuals and organizations pursuing philanthropic activities related to building engineering, design or technology. Key elements of the program are college scholarships, traveling internships, and grants to, and partnerships with nonprofit organizations.