On April 25th, Tech finished installing the bricks for the 2017 class of graduates from the University. The new bricks were added to the long line of bricks that stretch from the southeast corner of Howard Auditorium to near the base of the pedestrian bridge.
There has long been speculation about where the bricks for future graduates will be added once the walkway hits Railroad Avenue. Will the bricks loop around Hale Hall or will the path turn east towards the future home of the whatever replaces Wyly Tower? Or maybe it’s possible to add bricks to the bridge over the railroad.
Honestly, I’m not overly concerned with what future path is taken. That seems rather trivial. But there is a more pressing issue: How long until we run out of room?
I’m too lazy to drive the 16+ hours to Ruston to measure each brick on the walkway, so I’m going to assume they are standard size. Here is a chart of the dimensions of standard bricks:
The bricks are laid sideways, so the total area of the brick is 215mm * 112.5mm. So that’s an area of 0.0242 m² or 0.26035 ft² if you want to be all American about it.
But that’s not including the mortar around the bricks. That adds 5mm to each dimension, giving us a total of 0.02585m² for each brick.
As of May 2017, there were 100,914 graduates of Tech. Assuming each graduate has their own brick, we get a total area of 2,608.6269 m².
A football field (including endzones) is 57,600 ft² or 5,351.2151 m². So all of the current bricks overlaid onto the football field looks like this:
That still seems like a lot, but not as bad as I worried. Half a football field is a large area, but Tech’s campus is a bit bigger than that.
When Will We Run Out of Room?
Even though the above suggests that we may not need to be worried yet, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t panic.
Using an online tool, I measured Tech’s campus (including athletic fields) to be 1,041,360.51 m². Or 0.40207154 square miles. Or roughly half the size of the Principality of Monaco.
That includes parking lots, fields, and building roofs. I wanted the worst case scenario, where everything is brick.
Using the 0.02585m² brick size from earlier, we get a grand total of 40,284,739 bricks to cover campus. So a bird’s eye view would look roughly like this:
Not a bad look. And at least we’d be safe from large wolves with bad intentions?
This would be an addition of 40,183,825 bricks to the 100,914 that already exist. But how long do we have until everything is brick?
Tech graduated 1,231 undergrads in the 2016-2017 academic year. Assuming Tech graduates this number every year into the foreseeable future, it would take 32,643 years to canvas Tech. It will be the year 34,661 AD.
But Tech is growing year over year, right? So shouldn’t it take less time to get there?
Well, the University is growing, but the graduation rates are relatively stagnant.
If you try to find a graduation trend, you’ll see the trend is actually in the downward direction. So it may take much longer than we thought.
Tech has plenty of space to keep laying bricks for thousands of years. But don’t be surprised if a documentary comes out in the far future critiquing Tech’s 2018 leadership for not planning 34,000 years in advance.