Students progress with pavilion at Ravenna park

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published:

Hammers were swinging and the smell of sawdust was in the air.

It was just a typical day at school for the students in the carpentry/cabinetmaking trade at Maplewood Career Center in Ravenna.

The students were constructing a 24-by-28-foot pavilion at Chestnut Hills Park in Ravenna. An anonymous donor contributed $10,500 to pay for the materials for the project.

Adam Irwin, teacher of the carpentry/cabinetmaking program at Maplewood, has been bringing juniors to the site in the mornings, and seniors in the afternoons. He said the project, which is expected to extend until January, is good experience for the students.

"We're trying to teach them all aspects of residential construction," he said, adding that so far, the experience has been teaching the students a lot about working with rafters. "And this building has a sheet metal roof, so they'll be learning about that too."

The city laid the concrete foundation, but the rest of the project has been the responsibility of the students.

Once this project is done, the students will work with the city of Ravenna on a small building for the water department. Last year, the students built a house.

"It's a good way to let them gain experience," Irwin said. "And if you ask any of them, I'm sure they'll tell you their days just fly by."

Students Jacob Wehner and Cody Yorke labored over a beam for the pavilion, confirming that they enjoyed their day more than sitting in a classroom.

Wehner said he never did like just sitting in a classroom.

"This gives me a chance to participate," he said.

Nevertheless, he does plan to continue his education. He hopes to be trained as a structural civil engineer in the U.S. Air Force, and eventually open his own green construction business.

Yorke, meanwhile, plans to pursue an apprenticeship and go straight into the work world after graduation, though he's not ruling out taking a few business courses.

"I would prefer this over working in a classroom any day," he said, then nodded toward Wehner. "I'll probably end up working for him."

The school's Mechanical Groundskeeping class will build picnic tables over the winter, Irwin said.

Irwin said he hopes to encourage more students to pursue the carpentry trade at Maplewood. In past years, he said, students have built houses.

"People keep hearing about the housing industry slowing down, and the parents think there aren't any jobs, but they're always building stuff," he said. "There are carpenters who work in a lot of trades like road construction, and the average age of those guys is 50. When they retire in 10 years or so, we're going to need people to replace them."

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1139 or dsmith@recordpub.com

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